Tiger’s tired and wishes he could find way to bow out, says Jordan
Basketball icon tells US magazine his friend would quit if he won another major
TIGER WOODS “wishes he could retire” and would do so if he won another major, according to his friend and former basketball star Michael Jordan.
Woods has not played since August after undergoing three back operations in the space of 19 months and won the last of his 14 major titles in 2008.
The former world No.1 has reportedly been having lengthy practice sessions ahead of a possible return to action and was caught on camera hitting shots during a clinic at a junior event on Thursday.
But Jordan believes the 40-year-old is “tired” after a long career in the spotlight and told ESPN the Magazine: “I think he really wishes he could retire, but he doesn’t know how to do it yet, and I don’t think he wants to leave it where it is right now.
“If he could win a major and walk away, he would, I think.”
According to the magazine, Woods has told his friend and former PGA Tour player Notah Begay that he “knows” his next comeback will be his last, while Jordan does not sound optimistic that it would be a success.
“The thing is, I love him so much that I can’t tell him, ‘You’re not gonna be great again’,” Jordan said.
Jordan also revealed that the sex scandal surrounding Woods, which broke after he crashed his car into a fire hydrant and a tree in November 2009, “looms” in the mind of the only player to hold all four major titles at once.
“That bothers him more than anything,” Jordan said. “It looms. It’s in his mind. It’s a ship he can’t right and he’s never going to.
“What can you do? The thing is about T-Dub, he cannot erase. That’s what he really wants. He wants to erase the things that happened.”
Woods appeared earlier this week at the Junior Invitational Tournament at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, South Carolina, to stage a clinic. He was filmed hitting balls, sparking speculation that he may be close to a return. “It was amazing to be able to see arguably the greatest golfer to ever play this game,” said US Junior amateur champion Philip Barbaree Jr.
“Everyone was so pumped up and excited that we got to the clinic site 45 minutes before it started. It was also a great experience to be able to hit balls alongside him before the clinic.
“He shared advice about how he practises and I think that is invaluable to us. Compared to Rory McIlroy (who held a clinic there last year) there was so much more hype after we saw Tiger. It seems there is no way Sage Valley can top it next year.”
The Wells Fargo Championship (May 5-8), Players Championship (May 12-15) and Memorial Tournament (June 2-5) are events Woods usually plays, but there remains no concrete timetable for his return.
Jack Nicklaus admits he would love to welcome Woods to his course Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, for the Memorial Tournament, but is not placing any pressure upon him.
“All I would do is tell him I would support him,’’ said Nicklaus. “If he wants to play, I would love to have him. If he doesn’t think he’s ready to play, he shouldn’t play.
“It would be a nice surprise for the tournament, but I would say the chances are no better than one in five. That’s not bad. It’s better than zero”
Meanwhile, Ryder Cup performer Luke Donald has revealed that he came close to walking away from the game after failing to register a major tour victory for four years.
The former world No.1 has dropped down the rankings since his last European Tour success at the BMW PGA Championship in 2012 and was ready to look for new challenges before finishing joint second in last week’s RBC Heritage, two shots behind South Africa’s Branden Grace.
“It’s been very tough and at times I even thought: ‘Do I want to continue working this hard and not getting much out of it?’,” said the Englishman. ““I hope last week was a big step in the right direction for me.”
POPULAR: Tiger Woods caused a stir when he staged a clinic at the Junior Invitational Tournament at Sage Valley Golf Club
OLD PAL: Michael Jordan is a close friend of the 14time major winner.