Woods re­laxed ahead of come­back in Ba­hamas

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Tiger Woods de­liv­ered a strong in­di­ca­tion he is ready for his come­back af­ter a 16-month lay­off when out-driv­ing Olympic cham­pion Justin Rose at Nassau’s Al­bany Club in the Ba­hamas on Mon­day.

The 14-time Ma­jor winner makes his long awaited re­turn in the Hero World Chal­lenge start­ing Thurs­day, where he will play with Amer­i­can Ry­der Cup star Pa­trick Reed. He teamed up with Rose, who has been a res­i­dent on the ex­clu­sive Al­bany es­tate for two and a half years, for­mer New York Yan­kees base­ball leg­end Derek Jeter and fel­low World Se­ries winner Tino Martinez.

Woods, who has ‘parked’ his lux­ury yacht ‘Pri­vacy’ close to Rose’s pala­tial home on the is­land, was clearly very re­laxed in the com­pany of the three and aside from an er­rant drive down the left side of the 13th he was in play for much of the nine holes in the sunny but windy con­di­tions.

There were no of­fi­cial scores recorded but it’s un­der­stood Woods, wear­ing shorts, shot a com­fort­able one-over-par 37 for the nine holes that in­cluded two bo­geys and a birdie.

High­light of his nine holes was a 350yard down­wind drive at the par-four 15th that was eas­ily 40 yards fur­ther than Rose.

Rose is re­turn­ing af­ter a seven-week in­jury ab­sence and looked a lot more rusty than Woods who will tee-up in the 18-man $3 mil­lion event in his first ap­pear­ance since shar­ing 10th in the Wyn­d­ham Cham­pi­onship 465 days ago.

“I was re­ally pleased the way I was strik­ing the ball as I hit it pretty well but then the wind to­day is ex­pected to come from a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion on Thurs­day,” said Woods. “The greens, and how they’ve set them up at the mo­ment, are a lit­tle too quick for this wind and with talk of a storm also com­ing in on Thurs­day, they should be perfect.” It was Woods’ sec­ond nine holes on the Ernie Els de­signed course hav­ing played the front nine on Satur­day and spending Sun­day work­ing on the range.

But if his golf and his pos­i­tive de­meanour is any sign then Woods could sur­prise many come Thurs­day’s start to the event.

Woods seems to have gained fur­ther strength in chat­ting at length over the nine holes with both Jeter and Martinez, with Jeter com­pet­ing in the later stages of his own ca­reer with a bro­ken an­kle he sus­tained in Oc­to­ber 2012.

“That’s one of the things I was talk­ing to Derek and Tino about and that his how long did it take them at the start of each match to get ready to go out and play in each game,” dis­closed Woods.

“We all know Derek broke his an­kle and in com­ing back from that he said it used to take him three to four hours just to get pre­pared for a game.

“I also was dis­cussing that to­day with ‘Rosey’ (Justin Rose) and he also says he needs to spend up­wards of an hour and a half in the gym be­fore he tees-up each day of a tour­na­ment given he’s now 36 years of age. “It’s been the same deal with me and long be­fore I was out in­jured for this long pe­riod. “We all agreed we missed the times early in our ca­reers when you could just turn up, grab your equip­ment and just go out and hit a 300-yard drive.

“I can’t do that any­more as I’m at an age where it takes time to pre­pare as I’ve had like three knee surg­eries and also the op­er­a­tions on my back.” — AFP

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