Guess who’s back, back again? Woodsy’s back, tell a friend. Or don’t, because Tiger Woods hasn’t actually returned to the game of golf just yet. But the living legend and walking china doll has been cleared by his doctors to resume “unrestricted” golfing activities. Irons, wedges, drivers, that rake in the bunker: if you can find it on a golf course, Tiger has medical clearance to wield it.
That doesn’t mean Woods will tee off at the next PGA tournament, of course. His return is still (likely) months away. The oft-injured 41-year-old needs ample time to work his way back into playing shape, and he is dead-set on making sure his next comeback is more successful than the last.
Will he write a Hollywood script and add another major to his resume? Will he finish the 2018 season on golf’s version of the disabled list? Is he perhaps better suited to a life in reality TV than continuing as a professional athlete? We have odds on everything that lies ahead for everyone’s favorite philandering Cablinasian.
Woods has said all along that he intends to return, and his latest tweet provides hope that he could be back sooner than later. Should he shank his comeback attempt, don’t be surprised to see him in a broadcast booth covering the PGA’s marquee events. His knowledge of the sport is beyond reproach, and he appeared refreshingly comfortable and candid last year when he provided analysis at the Hero World Challenge. Golf geeks would love hearing his take on his peers and his presence would doubtlessly boost ratings.
If all else fails, there’s always Dancing with the Stars. Anyone who can drive a ball 420 yards should have no problem learning how to do the Charleston.
March 15, 2018 is three weeks before the 2018 Masters, a tournament Tiger would obviously love to play. You have to figure that he’ll want at least one warm-up tournament under his belt before that, and targeting the Arnold Palmer Invitational (Mar. 15-18) in Orlando makes sense. If his body feels good, he can also hit the Houston Open two weeks later. If four rounds was a strain, he can take a couple weeks to recover before Augusta.
Woods made his return last year at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament he hosts. But given that we’re already in mid-October and he doesn’t have a timetable for return, the end-of-November start date is a bridge too near.
He’ll do everything in his power to be at the 2018 Masters, and the US Open (Jun. 14 at Shinnecock Hills, NY) will be another big target on his schedule. But counting on Woods to be in playing shape come mid-July is not a safe bet, given how short-lived his most recent comeback attempts have been.
Realistically, Woods won’t be teeing off as better than a 75/1 longshot at any major next season, unless we see something truly miraculous in the next six months.
Pessimistic? Yes. Realistic? Also yes. He’s over 40 now and, Tom Brady aside, bodies start breaking down around that time, even ones more durable than Tigers’.
Fortunately, his temperament has all the durability that his body lacks.
Woods discovered the hard way that he may not be a one-woman kind of guy. His multiple infidelities led to a very public divorce and cost him millions of dollars in endorsement deals with Gatorade, General Motors, and AT&T, whose slogan ironically was “reach out and touch someone.” He has since undergone sex addiction therapy and appears to back to keeping his number of girlfriends within single digits.
Woods’ latest girlfriend is believed to be Erica Herman, a 33-year-old brunette who manages one of his restaurants. The pair were spotted together at the Presidents Cup, although it’s unclear how long they’ve been dating. Woods hasn’t come close to tying the knot since his divorce in 2010, and given his many missteps it seems likely he’ll go slowly before taking the plunge again.
Woods may be flawed, but he isn’t stupid. The 41-year-old Stanford alum has a history of learning from his mistakes and we believe his days of driving under the influence are behind him. His DUI was allegedly the result of an unfortunate mixture of medications and he has since completed a series of DUI education classes and has received professional assistance to manage his pills. Woods worked hard to rehabilitate his image following his divorce and we believe he’ll be exceedingly careful going forward to ensure he remains in the sports section rather than the tabloids.
We’re not suggesting that Woods will be the last man standing at the U.S. Open this June, but we do believe he has a statistically better chance of winning a major golf championship then he does of being thrown in the slammer.
Tiger Woods has a way of constantly surprising us. He did it in 1997 when he won the Masters by 12 strokes, and he did it again in 2010 when it was revealed he was on a first-name basis with more porn stars than Larry Flynt. When it comes to Woods, anything is possible, but we truly do believe his days of running afoul of the law are over. He seems to be in a far better space mentally, physically, and emotionally and is focused on returning to the game he loves.
When it comes to free golfing trips, The Donald easily trumps Tiger. According to TrumpGolfCount.com, POTUS has has hit the links at least 30 times since his inauguration and made at least 69 trips to golf clubs. If he keeps up that pace, Trump will visit 19 more golf clubs before the year is done. The pressure is officially on Woods to get back into the swing of things and play his next tournament pronto.
Featured photo: Keith Allison (Flickr) CC License
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