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Tiger fans, look away now.

A close friend of the former world No.1 has said he doesn’t expect him to make a PGA Tour comeback this year.

Speaking to the Golf Channel, former tour pro John Cook revealed that he anticipates Woods will sit out all of 2022 and will only re-appear in December to play in the PNC Championship with son Charlie.

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“I don’t see it in the next 12 months,” said Cook. “I think next time we see him will be [at the PNC Championship] next year [in 2022]. I don’t think his body will be physically ready. He can’t train the way he’s going to want to train.

“He’s never been a ‘show up’ guy if his game isn’t ready for prime time. [But] I see it happening at some point otherwise he wouldn’t be testing a ball, shaping shots on the practice tee, working on a new driver that he likes. I think there’s a motive to that.”  

Cook, who won 11 times on the PGA Tour, is a longstanding friend and former neighbour of Woods.

He added that he had spoken to the 15-time major champion following last month’s PNC. That was Tiger’s first competitive appearance since the same tournament in 2020, a back injury and then injuries sustained in a near-fatal car crash in February combining to keep him out of action for a year.

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“Talking to him, he was pretty open and honest,” said Cook. “He said he was exhausted. He saw enough good stuff with his short clubs and his feel, but the long irons were falling out of the sky, but that was just from some mishits. But he said, ‘I’ll get that.’”

Speaking after he and Charlie’s runner-up finish at the PNC last month, Woods – who turned 46 on December 30 – played down the prospect of a tour return any time soon.

“I’m not at that level,” he said. “I can’t compete against these guys right now. It’s going to take a lot of work to get to where I feel like I can compete and be at a high level.”

Nonetheless, he was happy to be back doing what he does best.

“The competitive juices, they are never going to go away. This is my environment. This is what I’ve done my entire life. I’m just so thankful to be able to have this opportunity to do it again.

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“I’m not going to play a full schedule ever again. I’m going to have to pick-and-choose what events, and even then, my body might not cooperate with that.

“So I don’t know how many events I’m going to be playing in and it’s going to be up to training sessions, practice sessions, recovery tactics, all those different things to be able to do it. I’m just so thankful to be able to do this again because it didn’t look good there for a little about it.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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