5 things we learned from re­turn of Woods

Kuwait Times - - ANALYSIS -

Five things we learned from the re­turn of Tiger Woods to com­pet­i­tive golf at the Hero World Chal­lenge in­vi­ta­tional event at par-72 Al­bany Golf Club in the Ba­hamas:

Tiger Woods isn’t ready to win yet

There were mo­ments you wanted to fit him for an­other green jacket. There were mo­ments you wanted him to give it up for good. Woods flashed bril­liance and hor­ror and fin­ished on four-un­der par 284. He shot the worst round of any­one at 76. He led in birdies with 24. He fired a bo­geyfree 65 in round two that was his best round since the last time he won at the WGC event in Akron back in 2013.

He needs more work. He will put in more work. He needs to find con­sis­tency. He needs more events to be tour­na­ment fit and avoid fad­ing late in rounds. He was able to make great starts. That could put him ahead in some ways if he can solve other is­sues. He’s older Tiger, not the Tiger of old. And Al­bany is not the typ­i­cal US PGA Tour stop. It’s not go­ing to offer the ten­sion of a Sun­day in a ma­jor. It’s 18 guys not a full field. It’s not many of those play­ers that Tiger in­spired that now block his path to a tri­umphant re­turn.

Tiger had more friends than he knew

“It blew me away.” That’s what Woods said about so many fel­low pros of­fer­ing their sup­port, ad­vice and even just com­pany for a night out. Af­ter nearly 20 years of fo­cus and grind­ing, wins and an in­tim­i­dat­ing aura, Tiger has learned the man be­hind the 14 ma­jors and 79 ca­reer wins has earned more re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion from his ri­vals than he ever imag­ined. Play­ers gave their time to be in his char­ity events that ben­e­fit his foun­da­tion. Be­yond ‘Tiger Inc’, be­yond those who can make money with him, Woods has in­spired friend­ship and ad­mi­ra­tion for who he is as a per­son. For some­one who won­dered a year ago if he might never get out of bed eas­ily again, it’s nice to know you have friends.

Woods fired off lots of tweets in his role as Ry­der Cup as­sis­tant cap­tain. One story told by a ri­val spoke of how play­ers be­gan tweet-com­par­ing tro­phy cases and Tiger chimed in with the all-time win­ner, only to be told he didn’t count. There was a ca­ma­raderie built among play­ers and Woods was big on tweet­ing his thoughts. He even got a sup­port­ive tweet from US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump.

It helped that he was un­able to play at the Ry­der Cup, so he could fo­cus on play­ers and holes and strat­egy to help the US vic­tory. But as Tiger be­comes an el­der states­man - he turns 41 on Dec 30 - he has a role on the Ry­der Cup com­mit­tee and a new way to chan­nel his com­pet­i­tive golf na­ture. Be­ware Europe and you Pres­i­dents Cup In­ter­na­tion­als as well. Tiger might be more dan­ger­ous be­hind the scenes than as a player in the team events. His foun­da­tion does wonders giv­ing kids op­por­tu­ni­ties who oth­er­wise would not have them. Ed­u­ca­tion. Dreams. His busi­ness world is united un­der the TGR um­brella, and one ven­ture was show­cased this week. He’s a part­ner in Al­bany, the ex­clu­sive Ba­hamas area that is re­mote but grow­ing. Ernie Els helped start it. Justin Rose lives there. Joe Lewis, whose Tav­i­s­tock Group owns English foot­ball side Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur, helped start it. And it just had a week of free global ad­ver­tis­ing on golf tele­casts of Tiger’s come­back. He’s not wor­ried about lunch money.

He’s tak­ing cold baths. He’s not run­ning so much or lift­ing weights so much - all those things he did when he was younger that forced ri­vals to do the same to keep up with him. He’s go­ing to face guys who can do those lifts and runs and can re­cover faster be­tween rounds. And he wants to win four more ma­jors to catch Jack’s record. He will have to fig­ure out new ways of win­ning. You could see the process start this week as he played up at times, try­ing new ways to ne­go­ti­ate the course and be suc­cess­ful. — AFP

Tiger is a Trump-es­que tweet­meis­ter Tiger has a solid foun­da­tion Tiger’s body needs ex­tra care

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