After a Seven Month Break, Tiger Arrives at the Genesis Invitational to Show He’s Still in the Game!
“I was trying to calm myself down all day,” Tiger had said after stunning a crowd that had chanted his name before he’d even teed up, “trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing out here because I haven’t played.”
To anyone familiar with Woods, they might have noticed a more anxious air surrounding the man when he arrived at the Genesis Interventional in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. “I didn’t really look up as much,” he’d said in the later interview. “I probably should have.” The fifteen-time major champion had undoubtedly been a little shaky, and this was because he had neglected to play his favored sport for seven straight months. It wasn’t like he had a choice, as in July, he’d suffered an open fracture to both his tibia and fibula in a vehicular accident. It’s a devastating incident for any sports player, including golfers. He was seen limping up the field, often supporting his injured leg when not up to tee, and it put him out of the game for over half a year.
To anyone who has yet to pick up a club outside of the mini-golf greens, golf might seem like a relatively simple sport; easy to learn, but hard to master, just like any game with a ball and a simple set of rules. However, the widely-loved sport of golf is not only difficult, but extremely demanding to anyone hoping to go pro. It takes far more practice than nearly any sport in the world. It’s said that if one wants to go pro in golf, one must practice six hours a day, six days a week, for forty-eight weeks a year, making up a grand total of one thousand seven hundred twenty-eight hours each year they plan to be pro. To make things even more astounding, that number is considered the minimum. In comparison, Division 1 American football players practice an average ten to fifteen hours a week, and that’s not year round.
With this information in mind, you might have a glimpse into the anxiety Tiger Woods felt when he first stepped up to tee. He had been playing professionally since 1996, but seven months without a game would make even the greatest player fall behind. Now, at forty-seven years of age, it was a wonder if he still had it in him to wow the crowd like he used to. Competitive partners and friend Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas watched on as the crowd cheered Tiger’s name, waiting with bated breath.
At last, he took his first shot, and in the end, he finished his first hole in seven months with a clean par-5, a great start to his first round.
With the second hole being considered the hardest in the round, he marveled the world with a saved par. It was the third hole that he really impressed, making onto the fairway and surpassing his partners by a good thirty yards.
The fourth hole came to destroy the momentum he’d been building for himself when he left his par putt short. The fifth found the player in a somewhat awkward stance as his injured leg began to take its toll, but in the end, he managed to stay even for the round.
With seven and nine, Tiger found himself practically devastated when he missed out on a chance at a birdie for each, landing him at one-under at the round and continued into the second half of the round.
The professional continued to slip as the round continued, the lack of practice beginning to show as his performance dwindled. Thirteen through fifteen were saved by pars, but even then, it was looking as though Tiger might actually finish the game over par.
In the last three holes, however, Woods brought his A-game. With his last chance to truly show the crowd he was the same man who won fifteen majors, he struck a birdie on sixteen, but it was seventeen that brought him to par-1.
As T18 approached, one would understand if Woods was reaching the end of his rope. Yet, the champion struck a birdie with his final shot, bringing him to a stunning par-2.
As the round came to a close, Tiger was seen grinning to himself, no doubt proud of the achievement. His partners came to congratulate him on a good game, with McIlroy in particular seeming just as stunned as the cheering crowd.
Tiger is hoping to make it to the Players’ Championship in March before giving a go at The Masters. We believe he’ll be quite the opponent once a few more games are under his belt.