It was the end of 2016 when Tiger Woods announced his much anticipated return to golf. Having hoped to play in the Safeway Open, the first tournament of the 2016-2017 PGA Tour season, as well as the Turkish Airlines Open in November, unfortunately he had to withdraw from both events at the last minute. It was at the Hero World Challenge that saw Woods teeing off for the first time in 466 days, saying before the tournament,
“I am excited to make my return at the Hero World Challenge at Albany and play in this terrific tournament.”
By this stage, Woods hadn’t played since the 2015 Wyndham Championship and had undergone two major back surgeries in the meantime. A total period of 15 months, it marked the longest break from golf of his career. At the Hero World Challenge, he came a disappointing 15th out of 17 players but given the amount of scrutiny he was under and a game that was described as “vulnerable”, he handled the challenge well without melting down.
So is 2017 the year of Tiger’s great professional comeback? At the very least he will need an injury-free season as well as a campaign in which he shows he can be competitive in today’s game. Ranked outside the world’s top 650, he also needs an early win to ensure he qualifies for the WGC Championship in Mexico City and the WGC Match Play in Austin, USA. However, Woods’s focus will likely centre on the Masters this year. If his injury-plagued back and his form stay strong, then we can expect a spectacle at Augusta, as this is when Tiger returns to his most natural habitat. But not everyone is convinced. Paul McGinley, former Europe Ryder Cup captain, said recently “The new generation of players are simply not afraid of Tiger any more.”
Woods has four tournaments lined up in the early months of the New Year from the OMEGA Dubai Desert Classic to the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. It’s set to be a steamy start for the player and we hope Tiger can take the heat! If you’re looking for an excuse to get back to form, Turkish Airlines can take you to more destinations than any other airline in the world. Book now at www.turkishairlines.com/Book-Now.
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