Should We Be Excited by Those Swing Clips of Tiger?
THERE has been much excitement on social media about the footage posted by Tiger Woods showing that he is now once again fit enough to be hitting drivers. This came less than a week after he posted slow-motion film of him hitting irons.
If you have watched the videos you can't fail to have noticed how good his swing looks - and that he is striking golf balls while swinging within himself. Not that he has much choice - having undergone a fourth back surgery, Woods knows that he cannot afford to go under the knife again.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that after everything he has gone through, Woods even wants to hit golf balls again. The past couple of years have been a long and exceedingly painful journey for the 14-time major champion. His latest attempted comeback ended after a missed cut on the PGA Tour and one dreadful opening round of 77 at the Dubai Desert Classic in February. He withdrew, citing a back spasm.
It turned out to be far more serious. Later, it was announced that Woods needed further surgery and duly went under the knife. That was bad enough, but none of us were prepared for the shocking news that broke on May 29, when it was revealed that Woods had been arrested for driving under the influence. It wasn't so much the arrest that was so shocking - it was the pictures of Woods that were released by the Florida police. He was dishevelled and completely unrecognisable as the man we had watched bestriding the fairways in such imperious fashion.
It later emerged that Woods had five different drugs in his system - and that he had become addicted to painkillers. It should not have come as the surprise that it did. Tiger has clearly spent much of his recent life in pain and it stands to reason that he would have looked for some relief. Thankfully, he quickly admitted that he had a problem and took himself off for treatment.
Making Progress pic.twitter.com/I3MZhJ74kI— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) October 15, 2017
If you watched the recent Presidents Cup, you cannot help to have been struck by how well Woods looked. He wasn't playing, of course, but clearly revelled in his role as one of Steve Stricker's non-playing assistant captains. Much has been made over the years over the supposed antipathy between Woods and Phil Mickelson, but the pair were like best friends in New York.
Mickelson has also said that he is desperate to see Woods back in the game, competing in tournaments and battling for titles once again. He will never again be a golfer who is capable of blasting the ball 320 yards but here is the thing - if Woods can convince himself and his medical team that he really is fit enough to return to action, and if he can get back out there and swing within himself then he will find himself in the unusual situation where he will be hitting approach shots from the middle of fairways.
Of course he is ring rusty, and the only way he will solve that is through competitive play, but will his body stand up to it? There is not a golf fan anywhere in the world who does not want to see a fit and in-form Tiger Woods back in the thick of things. If he can keep the ball in play and rediscover that glorious putting stroke then he may still defy the odds. Look again at those social media images of him swinging a driver and cross your fingers that he can bring that swing to the PGA Tour.
He would not be letting us see what he is up to unless he believes a comeback is a realistic possibility. Watch this space...
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