Tiger brings come­back to happy hunt­ing ground

New Straits Times - - SPORT -

OR­LANDO: Tiger Woods takes his rous­ing come­back tour to one of his favourite haunts — Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill lay­out, where the 14-times ma­jor win­ner has tri­umphed eight times.

Woods not only feels supremely con­fi­dent on the track, but cher­ishes the time spent with Palmer, who tra­di­tion­ally greeted the tour­na­ment win­ner on the last green in the city Woods for­merly called home.

“To be able to win this tour­na­ment and to have Arnold there and to shake his hand and for him to give me a big hug and a cou­ple of times he says: ‘I called it, I knew you were go­ing to make that putt.’

“It was lit­tle things like that ... shar­ing jokes with him out there on the green and he and I laugh­ing. Those are mo­ments that un­for­tu­nately I’ll never have, but I have those mem­o­ries,” Woods told re­porters ahead of yes­ter­day’s open­ing round of the Arnold Palmer In­vi­ta­tional.

The 42-year-old Woods had a long re­la­tion­ship with seven-times ma­jor win­ner Palmer, who died in Septem­ber 2016 aged 87.

“I first met Arnold when I played here in the US Ju­nior when I was 15,” said Woods. “And then I moved here in ‘96 and he in­vited me over here to play in his Mon­day shoot-out and I did and I didn’t like it very much be­cause he took my money.

“But I thor­oughly en­joyed be­ing around him, be­ing with him and we had so many great times. None more so than last time I won here (in 2013)... We sat down, we just started to BS and have a great time to­gether and I’m go­ing to miss those times, for sure.”

That was the last year Woods won a PGA Tour ti­tle but the 42-year-old looks like he may fi­nally be over the back in­juries that side­lined him and lim­ited his abil­ity to swing the club.

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