If David Feherty is to be believed – and I’m not convinced he is – Tiger Woods may never return to golf. The NBC golf commentator and former tour pro watched the 14-time major winner hitting shots in Houston recently, noting that he “hit some good shots and some awful skanky looking things”.
He added that Tiger’s stubbornness might be preventing him from walking away from the game. “He is in phenomenal shape,” said Feherty, “but he is not able to make a full pass at it.”
Feherty is by no means the first person to speculate that Woods’ career might be over. Languishing in 535th place on the official world golf rankings, without a win since August 2013 and having not hit a ball in competition since the Wyndham Championship last August, Woods’ still has ‘no timetable’ for a return from his latest back surgery. Since he last pegged it up, he has also turned 40. It’s not just his health that he’s battling; it’s time, too.
Read more -> Tiger 'may not come back' says Feherty
Even so, I have a lingering feeling that there is one more extraordinary chapter of Tiger’s career that has still to be written. Call me daft, call me crazy, call me deluded – I just can’t shake the feeling that he’s going to amaze us just like he used to one final time. I know I've said the opposite in the recent past but, the more I think about it, the more I can't imagine Tiger just fading out.
People thought that Jack Nicklaus was done when he went five calendar years without a major win – in fact, just two wins in total – before he signed off in stunning style at the 1986 Masters.
I fully expect Woods to do the same. Extraordinary talents don’t just melt into insignificance; they produce one, final, blockbusting, grandstand moment as a lasting reminder of their greatness.
I'm not sure he thinks he's capable of eclipsing Sam Snead's PGA Tour wins record.
Personally, I think that’s what Woods is working towards. I believe he long ago privately conceded that Jack’s record haul of 18 majors is unsurpassable – no matter what he might say publicly – and, frankly, I’m not sure he thinks he’s capable of getting the four regular PGA Tour wins required to eclipse Sam Snead’s record total.
But one more major? Not beyond the realms of possibility. All he needs is to get healthy enough to string four good rounds together. That’s all. Because Tiger’s good rounds are still better than most players’ great rounds. Fact.
Call it a hunch but I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s working towards: trying to figure out a way to say goodbye in a manner that befits his achievements.
It would take a miserably stone-hearted person to deny him that.
I'm delighted that Darren Clarke has decided to name Paul Lawrie as one of his vice-captains for this year’s Ryder Cup match at Hazeltine. Lawrie, Thomas Bjorn and Padraig Harrington are expected to be named by Clarke this morning, with two more announcements to follow in the coming months. Don’t be surprised if Jose Maria Olazabal is one of those, with Lee Westwood expected to be the last name to be unveiled should he fail to qualify for the team.
Only 13 of the top 50 on the OWGR played at Wentworth this week. Not so much ‘flagship’ as ‘sinking ship’.
Spare a thought for Jin Jeong, who has missed 20 cuts in a row. After opening with a brutal 87 yesterday, he’s facing another weekend off. Maybe he has a Saturday job?
This week I have been… hearing strong rumours that this year’s BMW PGA Championship will be the last at Wentworth for a while. I’ve been told that the European Tour has decided to ‘teach the club a lesson’ following a string of run-ins with the Wentworth Residents’ Association. The tour has, allegedly, lost patience with the residents’ committee and is prepared to vote with its feet by taking the BMW PGA away from it. The Grove and the Centurion Club are thought to be strong candidates to take over should the tour decide to press on.
And finally… A professional autograph hunter didn’t take kindly to Lee Westwood blanking him during the Pro-Am at the BMW PGA Championship. “Somebody told me he was a right p***k and that’s just proven it,” said the bloke. To be fair to Lee, he’s not the one trying to get a professional sportsman’s signature that he can later hawk on eBay for hundreds of pounds. Who’s the p***k now?
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Michael McEwan / The Cut Line
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