August 02, 2011
Tiger Woods won't tee it up for a couple more days, but he gave members of the media assembled at Firestone Country Club for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational a hint of what they can expect from him when he steps on the first tee on Thursday morning, and that's a knee ready for the rigors of championship golf.
"The great thing is I don't feel a thing," Wood said. "It feels solid, it feels stable, no pain. As I said, that's one of the reasons why I took as long as I did to come back is that I want to get to this point where I can go ahead and start playing golf again like this. It's been a very long time, and it feels good to go out there today and hit balls like this, go practice and feel nothing and walk around and pretty much do anything I want on the golf course."
If Woods is indeed telling the truth, that would mean we could be seeing a healthy Tiger tee it up for the first time in a while. Since he hobbled off the course at TPC Sawgrass during The Players Championship in May, we've gotten very little news about Woods' status, with the exception of the confirmations that he wouldn't be playing in the U.S. Open or British Open.
That's why Woods' announcement of a clean bill of health is such a surprise. We're so used to seeing a wounded Tiger play over the last few years, that hearing him say he's healthy seems almost hard to believe. With 72 holes and no cut at the Bridgestone, we'll get a great opportunity to see how he looks for a full tournament, regardless of how he plays.
Aside from the knee, Woods also touched on his conversation and split from Steve Williams, which he confirmed had been done in person.
"We had a nice conversation," Woods said. "We did it after he completed play at AT&T National up in the boardroom, and it was a tough conversation, but we said what we needed to say to each other face to face and man to man."
Woods also confirmed longtime friend Bryon Bell would be a temporary caddie, and that he was still in the market for a new loop, something most people had already assumed.
Overall, Woods seemed to be in a very positive mood. He cracked a few jokes and didn't seem as standoffish as usual. But after months of being away from the media, you'd have to think it'll only take a couple of press conferences to get him to revert back into his Tiger shell.
Regardless, it was great to see Woods back in his element again. No matter if you're a Tiger fan or hater, having him back in the fold is a good thing for golf.