Tiger Woods' friend, Notah Begay, thinks Tiger won't be ready for the U.S. Open

Shane Bacon
Tiger Woods Pinehurst
Tiger Woods finished second the last time the U.S. Open was played at Pinehurst #2 — Getty Images

For golf fans, the Masters is always one of the best sports weekends of the year, but the random fan was probably missing something over the weekend. Tiger Woods wasn't playing for the first time since 1994, missing out because of back surgery that has him sidelined indefinitely, and that hiatus could extend, according to one pal of Woods.

Notah Begay, a four-time PGA Tour winner and Tiger's teammate at Stanford, chatted with CBS Radio on Monday and said he doesn't think Tiger will make it to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open.

Here is what Begay, an analyst for Golf Channel, said on the radio.

“I’ve been in contact with (Tiger) this week. He missed being at Augusta and certainly was watching the tournament, (but) I think he needs to give (his back) a minimum of 90 days to make sure that scar tissue heals up appropriately and he doesn’t run the risk of re-injuring it. So that would push him past the U.S. Open.”

Personally, I think Tiger timed this surgery so that he would have a chance to return for the British Open. This year the Open Championship is being played at Royal Liverpool for the first time since 2006, when Woods hit stinger after stinger on his way to a two-shot victory over Chris DiMarco.

If Tiger is going to get another major win, his best chance is the British Open, and the fact that Hoylake seems to set up perfectly for the way he plans major courses these days, it makes the most sense for him to have that as the perfect major to set his return.

That said, who really knows when Woods will return. Tiger will turn 39 this December, meaning he is past that prime age to win major championships, so picking a perfect return date is almost as important as fine-tuning his golf swing.

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Shane Bacon is the editor of Devil Ball Golf and Busted Racquet on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shanebaconblogs@yahoo.com or