Okay I may have gone to the clickbait shop, bought an entire bucket and tossed it into this headline. Maybe. But as of this morning it’s a legit question and it’s got me FIRED UP.
On Monday, rumors surfaced on the interwebs that Tiger was basically done, that he couldn’t sit in the passenger seat of a car without reclining the seat all the way back and was, for the most part, rendered completely inactive due to setbacks from his multiple fall 2015 back surgeries.
It all began at 10:33 AM with this guy, Robert Lusetich. As a diligent worker for you, the people, I have researched this Lusetich fellow and, by all accounts, he is a very reputable and experienced golf journalist. His report carried weight, as it should.
I’m told #TigerWoods condition worsened. He can’t move well; painful to sit. Sits in car with seat fully reclined. No forseeable return. Sad
— Robert Lusetich (@RobertLusetich) February 22, 2016
Unfortunately for him — but fortunately for virtually everyone else — his sources appear to have provided him with bad intel. Immediately, Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg, fired back with:
“The tweets that appeared this weekend about Tiger’s health are ridiculous and absolutely false. It’s reprehensible that every few months someone makes something up and it’s treated like a real story. Tiger continues to work on his rehabilitation and we will have an accurate update at the appropriate time.”
Then, this morning, in true Rory McIlroy fashion, Tiger shoved this tweet down the rumor mill’s throat.
Progressing nicely. pic.twitter.com/HKnnluR1OW
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 24, 2016
ELECTRICITY! I’ll be honest, in the air I thought it was going in. I was like, Wow, Tiger is going to can a 9-iron on a simulator and give a double, triple, maybe even quadruple fist pump then raise the roof like we’re all back in Arizona and it’s 1997 again.
That didn’t happen, but Tiger did stick it to a couple feet and looks fresh AF. And the Masters is only six weeks away.
If we take a quick look at a few of Tiger’s returns in recent years following hiatuses from golf, we may allow ourselves to get real jacked up about the likelihood of seeing Eldrick the Great prance around the perfected landscape of Augusta National this April.
2010 – After a 5+ month hiatus from professional golf following one of the world’s biggest scandals, Tiger returns at Augusta National for the 2010 Masters.
2015 – After a 2+ month hiatus from professional golf following a missed cut in Phoenix and a withdrawal in San Diego (and the chipping yips), Tiger returns at Augusta National for the 2015 Masters.
2016 – After a 6+ month hiatus from professional golf following multiple back surgeries, Tiger returns at Augusta National for the 2016 Masters?
It’s not a lock, and Tiger won’t go if there’s chance of further injury or a setback to his recovery from his most recent surgeries, but the trajectory looks familiar. Very familiar. Tiger’s always the showman and LOVES to make a statement with his returns, like last year when golf pundits declared Tiger’s career over after diagnosing him with the unshakable chipping yips — he showed up to the Augusta chipping area, plugged headphones in and chipped and danced for a couple hours straight. He basically stared at the cameras and said, Uh oh, Tiger learned how to chiiiip.
If I were a betting man, which I am, would I bet on Tiger teeing it up at the 2016 Masters? Absolutely. Tiger knows he won’t be the favorite to win, especially with no tournament golf under his belt, with no testing of his game under the pressure of an official event. But that won’t matter. Tiger knows, as do the rest of us, that if he shows up healthy, he’s still good enough to win. He’ll need to have his best stuff, he’ll need to strike a bit of lightning, but he can do it. That’ll be enough, if he’s healthy, for him to show up.
So, hey, we’ll leave it with some Woody Allen: “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.”