July 27, 2011
Two weeks ago, rumors started flying around that Tiger Woods would commit to playing this week's Greenbrier. He didn't. Then people starting to say they figured Tiger would make his third reappearance of 2011 at the Bridgestone Invitational next week, on a course he's reigned victorious seven times in his career. No commitment yet from Team Tiger.
But swing coach Sean Foley did divulge this information to CBS Sport's Steve Elling on Tuesday night: Woods hasn't even started working out on the driving range.
"We have not hit any balls," Foley wrote Tuesday night. "And I have no idea what his plans are as far as when he plays again. It's up to the doctors."
When speculation started flying around after The Players Championship, when Tiger played only nine holes before withdrawing because of constant knee and Achilles problems, it seemed the U.S. Open or his own tournament, the AT&T, were his likely return dates. When those came and went, the British Open became the popular pick, but Woods still wasn't healthy enough to head across the pond to Royal St. George's. But almost everyone figured if he was taking this much time off from golf to get seriously healthy, he must have had the PGA Championship circled on his calendar as his return date. The problem is, if Tiger isn't even hitting range balls yet, and the PGA looms two weeks from Thursday, a return would be very Players-like for Woods.
Our guess? Tiger is done for the year. Why come back if he can't return for the PGA Championship? He won't be eligible for the FedEx Cup run, which kicks off in late August, and he normally treats the Fall Series like he treats three-putts, so those are out.
If Tiger wants to get serious about a second run in his career at majors and just flat-out competing, taking the rest of 2011 to work on everything, heal up better, and get far away from this game doesn't exactly seem like a poor use of judgement. Tiger needs to regain confidence, get well, and find happiness with this little white ball. He hasn't won a PGA Tour event since September of '09, and hasn't added to his major total since June of '08, so it seems time to make the tough present decisions to make the future more possible.
Golf will still miss Tiger, but we'd much rather seem him back at 100 percent than coming back with a multitude of question marks.