Norman Believes Tiger Needs to Manage His Expectations in Comeback
AND so it goes on. Greg Norman, the former world number one, is the latest to weigh in with his views on the possibility of Tiger Woods being able to make a successful return to the winners’ circle.
Woods surprised most onlookers at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas with a performance that made most of his critics eat their words. He finished in a tie for ninth in the 18-man field, with three rounds in the 60s.
Even Brandel Chamblee, who has long doubted that Woods will ever play at the level he once did, admitted he had been wrong about this latest attempt at a comeback. "I didn't think he'd come back with this much speed. I didn't think his swing would be this good. I didn't think he'd look this good," Chamblee said on Sunday.
But not everyone is convinced. Speaking at the QBE Shootout, Norman sounded a note of doubt. He wondered how Woods would fare under more pressure, against a bigger field and on a tougher course, especially given Woods’ many injuries over the years.
"You just hope it continues on for him, because a lot of the stuff he’s done has been self inflicted," he said, speaking of the "wear and tear" on the body from being a "power player." "I hope he manages his expectations more than everybody else's expectations being that he's going to come back and be Tiger of the past," Norman said.
As to the man himself, Woods has yet to announce his schedule for 2018. He said: “We’re going to sit down here and we’re going to figure out what’s the best way for me to build my schedule for the major championships. I plan to play enough but not too play too much."
If he is fit, it would be a surprise if he is not in the field for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines.
But here is a sobering thought. While he has a lifetime exemption at The Masters as a former champion, 2018 will mark the end of his 10-year exemption at the US Open – and his current world ranking would not get him into the tournament, meaning that unless he can get his act together he would have to enter the qualifying tournament to make the field in 2019. He is exempt at The Open until he is 60 and also has a lifetime exemption to the US PGA Championship.
This time last year, Woods followed up a 15th-place finish at the Hero World Challenge by announcing plans to play four tournaments in five weeks. He managed to play the Farmers Insurance Open, where he missed the cut, before heading to the Dubai Desert Classic, where he withdrew after an opening-round 77. That was the last we saw of him in competitive action until December.
His schedule may be up in the air just now, but he will have the following four dates in his diary:
April 5-8: The Masters, Augusta National, Georgia
June 14-17: US Open, Shinnecock Hills, New York
July 19-22: The Open, Carnoustie
August 9-12: PGA Championship, Bellerive, Missouri
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