Tiger Woods is likely to return before the US Open, according to his friend Notah Begay.
It is the third time in four years the 14-time major champ has missed the Masters.
Woods, 41, said his body was not ‘tournament ready’ for this week – but Begay says Woods is practicing, with his sessions being shorter than normal, and plans to play before the second major of the year in early June.
“Tiger’s doing well,” Begay told the Rich Eisen Show, a sports radio show in the States, yesterday. “If there was another two weeks he could have gotten one start in before the Masters. I mean, he had started practicing and hitting balls and going through his normal routine, albeit a little bit shorter sessions, but this wasn’t the type of event that you could just show up at, especially with what it turned out to be with the toughest scoring conditions we’ve seen in the last 20 years, and the second highest scoring average since 2007. It probably wouldn’t have been the best place for Tiger to start out, and I think we should look for something probably just after the Players Championship.”
Begay, who has often has the inside take on Woods’ decision-making in recent years, said his friend will likely want to get some events under his belt before a return at the US Open, which takes place at Erin Hills in June.
“The US Open is a definite possibility, but he’s got to at least get one or two starts in before that just to see where his body and his game is at to hit that shots that he wants to hit.”
As to what kind of Tiger Woods we get to see, Begay said Woods will still be as competitive, but will not be able to “overpower” the course like he used to.
“He’ll make as many birdies as the rest of the field but he won’t overpower a golf course like Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka or Rory McIlroy. His clubhead speed is still 118-120mph, but he’s not 125. He’s going to have to be more methodical.