Saturday 14 December 2019

Don't be expecting Tiger miracle

Tiger Woods. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Tiger Woods. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

When Tiger Woods tees up next year he will be at an age at which few have dominated, but that will not stop the hype machine and others from promoting his appearance with an implied suggestion Tiger 2.0 will be as good as the previous version which won 14 major championships between 1997 and 2008.

Amid overwhelmingly positive reviews of Woods' performance at the Hero World Challenge that might lead some to believe that he is destined to recapture his old greatness, a word of caution might be in order.

Woods certainly looked healthy in the Bahamas, and wielded his driver with the freedom and power of yesteryear, but one tournament does not a successful comeback make.

Woods has revealed few specifics of his rehabilitation, but his most recent spinal fusion surgery seems to have been successful, judging by his movement and swing patterns. He finished equal ninth out of 18 competitors on Sunday, 10 shots behind winner Rickie Fowler, his best result in four years and certainly most respectable for a man who had not played a competitive round for 10 months.

Even more positively, his swing seemed more powerful and reminiscent of the old Tiger on Sunday than it did on Thursday, suggesting he was not disguising any pain or function issues.

But his chipping was mediocre, and he did finish only mid-pack, so let's not expect miracles in 2018 from a man nearly 10 years removed from his most recent major championship victory, and four-plus years from any victory.

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