Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tiger Woods' mystery may soon be solved

Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour return could be as soon as early May, a source says. AP

Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour return could be as soon as early May, a source says. AP

He was No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings for a total of 683 weeks.

Current ranking for Tiger Woods? No. 486.

It's never just about doing the math with Tiger, though. It's doing the mystery.

The curtain to Tiger's world opened just a crack in the past few days with reporting, speculation and observation on the part of a couple of high-profile sources.

On Thursday, ESPN.com's Wright Thompson wrote a long and revealing feature called "The Secret History of Tiger Woods." It covered a lot of rocky ground, detailing his obsession with Navy Seals training and the military lifestyle, plus quotes from Michael Jordan saying he loves his friend too much to tell Tiger that he's not going to be great again.

Then, on Friday, Tim Rosaforte of Golf Digest and Golf Channel reported his PGA Tour return is getting close, perhaps as soon as early May at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.

Is it mere coincidence that those two stories came out within a day of each other?

Hey, that's part of the fun, but it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to me to think that a widely read feature depicting Tiger as tired and haunted in his personal life and all but washed up in his professional life might be just the ticket to kick that famous competitive drive into high gear.

Going by his blog posts alone, Tiger said on March 11: "I'm working hard on my short game at my outdoor practice facility and on my indoor Full Swing golf simulator." By April 1, just before the Masters, his progress report had ramped up to, "I've been hitting balls and training daily."

Now comes a string of fresher reports from Rosaforte that Tiger has been very active at The Medalist the past few weeks, practicing for four or five hours at a stretch and playing an unspecified number of holes. Throw in a Thursday public appearance in South Carolina in which Tiger reportedly hit every club in the bag during a clinic for junior golfers and there are only two logical conclusions.

Tiger has either convinced himself that his recovery from two offseason microsurgical procedures on his back is almost complete, or else the long absence has put him in a mental frame where he cares less about all of that every day.

How much ground is there to make up? Well, he tied for 10th place in his last appearance, the Wyndham Championship in August, with a 64 and a 65 thrown in. No top-10 on tour could ever be described as just scraping it around.

The majors of 2015 were a bust, however, with missed cuts at the U.S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship stopping the momentum of a tie for 17th at the Masters. Without the threat of winning a major and building on his career total of 14, Tiger is an entirely different cat.

The U.S. Open is in June at Oakmont, where Tiger finished second by a stroke to Angel Cabrera in 2007. Brutal conditions then, with only the winner shooting two sub-par rounds during the week, and it will be brutal again.

Tiger would have to hit a lot of those tight fairways and avoid the ankle-deep rough if he hopes to make the cut. If there's to be an attempt, it's time to find out if he's on track, by the May 12-15 Players Championship at least.

The British Open and the PGA could be later goals if Tiger's willing to be patient and prepare a little more before ducking back inside those yellow ropes. Don't see that happening.

The reason is that Tiger wants to be more than one of Davis Love III's vice captains at the Ryder Cup matches beginning Sept. 30. He wants to be an active player, having proven himself capable, and there's no mystery about that.

—Palm Beach Post (New York Times News Service)

Tiger Woods' mystery may soon be solved 04/25/16 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2016 7:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants

    Bucs

    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tiki Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  2. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium

    Bucs

    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  4. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist

    Blogs

    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

    Two-time Rays MVP Ben Zobrist is finishing strong after a slow start to his second season in Chicago.
  5. Oleg Sosunov brings intrigue to Lightning exhibition opener

    Blogs

    When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked he thought the 6-foot-8 Russian would hit the ceiling of Amalie Arena.

    Oleg Sosunov's ability to skate for his size, his reach, and his style have drawn comparisons to Zdeno Chara.