Tiger Woods set for PGA Tour return at Memorial Tournament

DUBLIN, OHIO - JULY 14: Tiger Woods catches a ball during a practice round prior to The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club on July 14, 2020 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Chris Cox/PGA TOUR: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 July 2020:

Tiger Woods is back on the tee. There is little need to overcomplicate the storyline beyond that.

The 82-time PGA Tour winner and the world’s most talked-about player is set to make his much-anticipated return this week at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, his first appearance since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sport in mid-March.

When Woods launches his opening ball off the tee Thursday at Muirfield Village, it will be his first competitive start in five months, dating back to the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in February. Woods, who has won this event five times in his career, will be part of a featured grouping Thursday and Friday alongside Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka.

“It feels great to be back,” Woods said Tuesday. “I hadn’t played on a tournament venue in a while, and it’s been since February, so it’s been a long time for me. Then to get out there and to play with Justin Thomas today was a bunch of fun. It’s certainly a different world, different environment that we’re in. To play practice rounds like this and to watch as the Tour has evolved and started back and to see no fans, it’s just a very different world out here.”

DUBLIN, OHIO – JULY 14: Tiger Woods catches a ball during a practice round prior to The Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club on July 14, 2020 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Golf has eagerly awaited Woods’ return since he first displayed a midseason form in May at Capital One’s The Match: Champions for Charity. Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Woods said that performance briefly left him considering an earlier return to competition before ultimately opting against it.

“I did consider playing, trying to figure out if I should play or not. But I just felt it was better to stay at home and be safe,” he said. “I’m used to playing with lots of people around me or having lots of people have a direct line to me, and that puts not only myself in danger but my friends and family. I’ve just been at home practicing and social distancing and being away from a lot of people.”

Woods watched from afar as the Tour worked through its new health and safety protocols, which include no on-site fans and frequent COVID-19 testing throughout the week. Confidence in those measures are what ultimately brought him to Ohio this week.

“That’s the risk that I’m taking, that’s the risk that all of us are now taking,” Woods said. “I know the TOUR has done a fantastic job of setting up the safety and trying to ensure that all of us are protected and are safe, but it is a risk that we are now undertaking when we walk on the property and are around individuals that you don’t know where they’ve been or what they’ve been doing.

“But the screening, the testing we’ve done, the protections that we’ve tried to implement on the Tour have shown that we’ve had to make adjustments, but it’s a risk that I’m willing to take.”

Yes, there was ample time for Woods to practice during the hiatus at his home course, Medalist Golf Club, but there was also plenty of backyard tennis with his children, Sam and Charlie, and quiet moments to read horror novels by one of his favorite authors, Dean Koontz.

But now it’s back to work, and a chance to erase the memories of his last competitive start. When golf fans last saw Woods on Tour, he finished last among players to make the cut at 11-over and closed with rounds of 76 and 77 the final two days.

“Physically, I was very stiff in Los Angeles, and I was not moving that well,” he said. “Back was just not quite loose, it was cold, I wasn’t hitting the ball very far, wasn’t playing very well, and consequently I finished dead last.

“ … I feel so much better than I did then. I’ve been able to train and concentrate on getting back up to speed and back up to tournament speed, so how I was moving at The Match and being able to progress since then, being out here today and being able to play with J.T., it was a lot of fun for both of us.”

One thing that won’t be in his way are the throngs of fans sure to follow him during an event, as the Tour will remain closed off to fans through at least the end of the FedExCup Playoffs in August.

Perhaps that will bring some comfortable familiarity to Woods, who won The ZOZO Championship in November after surging into a second-round lead that was played without fans due to weather. That win coincidentally also came after a lengthy two-month layoff.

Is a repeat performance in the cards this week?

“I think for me in particular, I’m going to have to just put my head down and play,” Woods said. “But it’s going to be different, there’s no doubt about it. For most of my career, pretty much almost every competitive playing round that I’ve been involved in, I’ve had people around me, spectators yelling, a lot of movement inside the gallery with camera crews and media.

“Watching the players play over the last few weeks, that hasn’t been the case, and that’s very different, and for the players that are a little bit older and that have played out here for a long time and have experienced it, it is very different.”

11 Comments

  1. STARGAZER, I don’t know you personally, how can I be envious of you or hate you ? It has become a refrain of yours because you cannot cope with sincerity . I won’t waste anymore time with you. Goodbye; direct your megalomania elsewhere. We may, only may, be at daggers drawn again at some point. Make sure you sharpen your poetry for that encounter . I will be ready with my little needles.

  2. O thou disgruntled traumatized Cicada that lurks and stalks its victims in the darkest terrains within thine envious soul;i found thee that speaks so zealously of caring for the downtrodden masses,hidden from view with your jealous hands deeply immersed in mischief like a common roadside thief.(lol)My unflinching gaze remained unfazed as i curiously watched thee envious little Cicada injuriously gnawing and munching on fragile tendrils sucking them dry of their natural nutrients and greenness because thine greedy soul is deeply covetous of the splendor that can be seen in the color green.Answer – does envy and jealousy over the success of others fill your quirky barren soul with happiness and joy?

    Can no prayers appease your envious jealous heart and make you offer a kind word to a man that beat all the odds stacked against him to be able tread the road of greatness once again?Goodness gracious!And now seriously,why would anyone even try to bring our Lord and savior and the beloved Prophet of Islam,(Peace and blessings be upon him)men who were ordained with extraordinary supernatural powers into a highly spirited discussion about ordinary men as fragile as twigs and figs? Did Champ ever walk on water like the CHRIST?Did he turn ordinary water into delicious wine and make the lame to walk? No? So why the senseless foolhardy comparisons(lol) Again the Prophet of Islam the Great Mohammed in just one night arose from his bed and traveled on the wings of a creature name Buraq and ascended into heaven,saw the Prophets before him,prostrated before the tremendous throne of Almighty God and was able to return home while his bed was still unruffled and warm – Did Champ accomplish any thing even close to that?So why compare refined gold and ordinary base metal?

    Ali was just another normal human being that accomplish great things but so also have others who have long been dead and gone; the past is nothing but memories to be savored and reflected upon but it should not become chains that shackled and prevent us from doing greater things and unfolding our own myths. – whatever things we enjoy shall all become memories;whatever is past will never be seen again – those are the timeless words of the lord BUDDHA;enjoy
    and celebrate the present moment folks the past is history.

  3. You are dreaming STARGAZAR. I hope your dreams do not turn to a nightmare. My word, envy you? I am satisfied with who I am. We remember historical figures because their deeds have entrenched themselves into our subconscious. Why do we still remember such special historical figures as Jesus (Issa in Islam) and Mohammad ( may the Almighty’s peace and blessings be upon them)? Because they did something extraordinary for humanity as Messengers of the One and Only. Did you lay eyes on them?

    Use your literally skills to bring us some “bonga”, palm oil, rice – you know the regular items which make us happy, and cast aside all your hallucinations of grandeur . Sierra Leone needs engineers and other technically minded people to push her forward, not those that bask in high-powered vocabulary. Towards the end of World War Two, somebody remarked to Stalin , the Russian dictator, that the Germans were finished. Stalin disagreed, reminding the remarker that the Germans had a highly technical labour force, and that they would recover quickly. He didn’t say they had the likes of STARGAZER with words to render the Atlantic Ocean dry. I await your next move . Oh and don’t forget to write to President Bio to humor him into making the final push in repealing the libel laws. Surely your words will make him panic and append his signature to the legislation.

  4. For those of you envious and jealous haters clinging on to the past glories of Superstars,and their long forgotten dreams and victories;for you languishing in that little eerie dark corner,who lives and thrives on profitless illusions and bootless futile delusions,those cowards who instead of diving boldly into the fleeting present moment,purposefully to suck it dry with vigor and hope for the benefit of our suffering masses,these timeless words are for you; “But for him who is joined to all the living there is hope,for a living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4) Breathtakingly beautiful words indeed!

    Seriously,those who are envious of the achievements of others,who groom and nurture jealousy in their wicked hearts like thorns diabolically surrounding a defenseless fragile flower,not for the purposes of protecting it from predators but to torture,rip apart and tear its tender petals to shabby looking shreds, I say wake up from your deep slumber and count the numbers of the stars in the heavens as I do,become the light and refrain from your obnoxious dark evil thoughts.

    This article is about a survivor,a lone ranger who beat all the odds staked against him through the help of Almighty God to eventually become triumphant once again – Your bad intentions towards him are inconsequential,and meaningless so go right ahead and cloth yourself in envy and jealousy like badges of disgrace so that they world will be able to see how uncultured and unpolished you really are.(lol) Champ was great but he was like a mist that was carried away subtly in the wind – Tiger Woods is greater because he is still a lion breathing and alive – Haters leave him alone…let him live quietly in peace – He’s got only one life to live!

  5. In this forum we are not mesmerised by poetry but by reality. Rhetoric is completely useless if it’s not converted to practical and tangible reality. So, my old pal, carry on with your outlandish use of words. You may bump into somebody one of these days who is stupefied by them. But you will never be a Wole Soyinka, who even in his advanced age, still fights for the down trodden in his native Nigeria, not to mention his stance against injustice. He fought a man in a New York street that was beating up a woman. Emulate him STARGAZER for us to bow down to your literary skills. Start by reading his book – ‘YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DAWN’.

    Mohammad Ali regained the world heavyweight title three times because ordinary people around the world fought with him, including the Vietnamese whom he refused to fight because they had never called him “nigger”.

  6. STARGAZER, hold on to your melancholic views and keep gazing at the stars after your sun sets . I know who you are and I don’t have time to cure your myopic malady . Your education has hardly helped you much to be circumspect. As I said in the past, I hope and pray that your shadow never darkens the corridors of power in my country . I would add one more thing: When you go through that final door, I hope your phantom displays more objectivity than your body. That which you do for yourself dies with you, that which you do for others remains. That was Mohammad Ali. He stood up for his people and injustice.

  7. Muhammad Ali was great no doubt,and so also is Tiger Woods…But the big difference is that Tiger is still breathing and alive,like a flower that keeps on blooming throughout all the four seasons;Champ has long been dead and gone and can no longer behold the light of the golden sun…Nope!He can never again be able to celebrate and rejoice like the Great golfer Mr T,because it has been said that dead men can never again be able to pick up their trophies.

    Tiger Woods is black whether he acknowledges it or not doesn’t mean a damn thing;does a bee lose its power to sting because it is quietly fast asleep? Hell no!Haters please leave Mr Woods alone;let him live in peace…let him continue to shine and dazzle as bright as emeralds resting in crystal clear waters.

  8. I would rather be reading about the late boxing legend – Mohammad Ali. He never doubted his African ancestry. At the height of his career he visited Africa. In Kinshasa for the title fight against George Foreman, he deliberately boarded a plane for a local flight to show that there where black African pilots just as capable as any anywhere in the world. I would stick my neck out and say that George Foreman was in the ring not just with Ali but the entire continent of Africa – no wonder he was counted out in the eighth round. May the soul of Mohammad Ali rest in perfect peace.

  9. Indeed – “There is hope for a tree that is cut down that it may sprout again,and that its shoots will not cease.(Job14:7)Golden nuggets right there!What a story of hope and first hand proof of the power of Almighty God’s abundant mercies and grace – Tiger Woods was a man that was written off by the sports media and the rest of the world;they said he was totally washed up like an old used garment as he struggled and persevered gallantly,through a nasty divorce,alcoholism and acute depression, like a helpless man being swallowed by quicksand.But no matter what our detractors may say or do,the Master of Creation has the last word over our lives; And to Tiger Woods he proclaimed his mercy saying;” Arise O golfer,why sleepest thou for so long; I have strengthen thine arms, and restored to thee a vision like the Majestic Eagle – Arise and shine for the light of a new dawn has come seeking anxiously for thee” What a glorious blessing!Once again the man is back on top of his game.

Tell us about your views

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.