Tiger Woods: I am going to keep it simple

Hero World Challenge, which brings in the elite of the sport, sees the man with 14 major titles making a 10th comeback.

Tiger Woods has been away from action for most of the year.   -  AP

For the first time in nearly 10 months, Tiger Woods will be teed-up in a competitive golf event this week. The Hero World Challenge, which brings in the elite of the sport – this time eight out from the current top-10 rankings – sees the man with 14 major titles making a 10th comeback.

The latest of the four back surgeries, on April 19 this year, kept Tiger on the bed for the better part of the year. As he said, “I would often roll out of the bed and take a **** in a bucket because I physically could not do something as basic as go to the toilet myself.”

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Determined to return to what he does best, the 41-year announced the decision to play the event which he hosts on the PGA Tour. The 18-player invitational field has eight players form the top-10 headed by Dustin Johnson.

 

The news of Tiger’s yet another ‘comeback’ has obviously created much buzz. On Tuesday, the winner of 79 PGA titles looked happy just able to play this week. The obvious focus of all attention, Tiger showed no signs of pressure and moreover, was forthcoming as he took questions from Sportstar on Tuesday.

Uncertain

When asked how was felt to be back in the mix with those who grew up watching his exploits on the golf course, Tiger said, “It’s been fantastic coming back and playing. All these… can’t call them kids… young guys have been great trying to help me make a comeback. I was with them in the Ryder’s Cup last year, President’s Cup this year, and got to know them well. I played a round with DJ (Dustin Johnson), JT (Justin Thomas), Rickie (Fowler)… so lots of them are my friends. I miss playing golf with my friends. Go out there and play obviously for a ‘wager’. I did it because I wanted to see how far I was from them. I’ve been off from the game for a very long time and don’t know how good my skills are. Can I do it when the pressure mounts? I wanted to see that. How would I react? How would I feel?”

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And what were his expectations this week?

“I would like to say that I am here to win the damn thing, like I always do. But this is different. It feels different because I don’t know my body yet. I don’t understand what it can do fully yet. I got a go-ahead from my surgeon a month ago. He said, ‘Go ahead and hit it.’ I said, I was not sure if I could hit it. The first ball I hit, a driver, I smoked it to about 130 yards (laughs). I was afraid to hit it. Then each day I progressed further and further. The good thing about me ramping up was that I could do it every day. Never felt I could not do it today… I could not play golf today. I remembered what my dad said. “KISS.”… Keep It Simple, Silly. So I am going to keep it simple and see how it goes.”

THREE:
  • Number of Major winners in 2017 (three out of four)
  • Number of Major winners in 2016 (three out of four)
  • Number of Majors won by Jordan Spieth
  • Past winners of World Challenge: Tiger Woods (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2011), Jordan Spieth (2015) and Hideki Matsuyama (2016)
  • Number of Olympic medallists: (Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Matt Kuchar)
  • Multiple winners of World Challenge (Tiger Woods-14; Davis Love III- 2 and Graeme McDowell-2).

FOUR:
  • Number of events Dustin Johnson has won in 2017

FIVE:
  • Number of times Tiger Woods has won the World Challenge
  • Number of times Tiger Woods has been runner-up at World Challenge
  • Number of players who have won only one Major (Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose)

SEVEN:
  • Number of players who have won one or more Major – Woods (14), Spieth (3), Johnson (1), Thomas (1), Koepka (1), Stenson (1) and Rose (1)

EIGHT:
  • Number of players from Top-10 of World Rankings
  • (Dustin Johnson-1; Jordan Spieth-2; Justin Thomas-3; Hideki Matsuyama-5; Justin Rose-6; Brooks Koepka-7; Henrik Stenson-8; Rickie Fowler-9)

TWELVE:
  • Number of players from US in the field
  • Number of 2016 Ryder Cup players (10 US and 2 Europe)
  • Number of different players who have won the World Challenge

THIRTEEN
  • Number of players who have won at least one title in 2017