Tiger Woods will play host at the Hero World Challenge scheduled for Dec. 1-4 in The Bahamas. (Ben Jared/PGA TOUR)
Tiger Woods hasn’t announced his intentions to play again in 2022, but the odds that we will see him again seem to be increasing.
Woods was seen hitting balls recently at Pebble Beach, where he hosted the inaugural TGR Junior Invitational and the 11th Tiger Woods Invitational.
Woods got in some golf, as well. A video posted Tuesday by his TGR Live Events showed him hitting balls during a clinic Monday. He was also seen playing the Peter Hay Course at Pebble Beach, a nine-hole par-3 layout that Woods led the renovation on.
— TGR Live (@TGRLiveEvents) October 11, 2022
Woods’ former college teammate, Notah Begay, recently told SiriusXM that he’s “fairly certain” Woods will tee it up again with his son Charlie at the PNC Championship in December. Team Woods finished second to John Daly and his son, John Daly II, last year after making 11 consecutive birdies in the Sunday scramble format. Charlie recently impressed with a 68 of his own in a junior event, as well.
Begay also said Tiger “might surprise everybody” and play in a fall event. The field for his Hero World Challenge was recently announced and three spots for tournament exemptions remain open.
The Hero World Challenge is scheduled for Dec. 1-4 in The Bahamas, with the PNC Championship two weeks later. The PNC allows players to compete in carts and Begay said last week from his PGA TOUR Champions debut that “we may see a late-minute introduction of a cart rule” at the Hero, which Woods hosts. Riding in a cart would greatly lessen the impact on his surgically-repaired right leg, which remains the greatest hindrance to Woods’ ability to play competitive golf.
“I know that if you just look at the metrics that are related to his golf swing in terms of clubhead speed, ball speed, his ability to execute golf shots, it’s still all there,” Begay said. “Now, walking 72 holes in a competitive environment, that’s the big question mark. But if he finds a way, and if anybody will, it will be him, to be able to deal with the 72-hole walk, the golf’s not the question to me, the heart’s not the question, it’s just a matter of physically can he endure that much stress on the leg.”
Woods has not competed since his emotional appearance at The Open in July, where he potentially competed at St. Andrews for the final time. Woods missed the cut with rounds of 78-75, but the scores were overshadowed by the emotional ovation as he walked down the Old Course’s 18th fairway.
Woods began the year by making an unbelievable return to competitive golf at the Masters Tournament, little more than a year after his car accident in Southern California. He surprised by opening with a 1-under 71 at Augusta National but the toll of playing competitive golf quickly became apparent. Woods faded with a pair of 78s on the weekend and did not return to competition until the following month’s PGA Championship, where he again made the cut but had to withdraw after the third round. Woods skipped the U.S. Open to ensure his body would be ready for St. Andrews. The only other tournament he competed in outside the three majors was the unofficial J.P. McManus Pro-Am, a 36-hole event in Ireland the week before The Open.
Woods left St. Andrews saying, “I have nothing, nothing planned. Zero. Maybe something next year. I don’t know. But nothing in the near future. This is it. I was just hoping to play this one event this year.”
Golf Channel commentator Brandel Chamblee praised the swings that Woods made this week, saying Woods “looked great.”
Woods is currently tied with Sam Snead atop the PGA TOUR’s all-time wins list with 82 victories, and Begay said he hasn’t dismissed the idea of Tiger attaining win No. 83, though he admitted that it’s “an uphill battle.”
“But he’s never backed down from any challenges,” Begay said.
Tiger looking great at an exhibition at Spyglass today. Tremendous width/shoulder turn in the backswing, legendary separation/squat in transition and left leg extension through impact. Doesn’t look like a 46 year old who had a life threatening injury just a short time ago. 💪🔥 pic.twitter.com/yV92QmbNUt
— Brandel Chamblee (@chambleebrandel) October 11, 2022