GolfOther Sports

Woods Happy About Return To Golf- ‘I Wouldn’t Be Here If I Didn’t Think I Could Win’

Tiger Woods will make his first appearance of the year at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational this week and has set his sights on victory at the historic Riviera Country Club. However, question marks remain over the American’s ability to compete across four days, with Woods admitting “it’s the walking endurance that’s hard”.

Tiger Woods insists he is in it to win it as he prepares to launch his latest comeback at the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

It will be Woods’ first competitive start since The Open in July last year having scaled back his playing commitments in the wake of a career-threatening car crash almost two years ago.

Speaking to the media ahead of the event, Woods revealed that his recovery from horrific leg and ankle injuries remains a work in progress but he still believes he can compete with the best.

“I would not have put myself out here if I didn’t think I could beat these guys and win the event, that’s my mentality,” declared a bullish Woods.

The 47-year-old did feature in the made-for-TV event The Match and the PNC Championship, alongside his son Charlie, back in December but on both occasions he was able to use a cart to get around and so question marks remain over his ability to compete for four solid days.

“As you saw at the PNC I was able to play out of the cart and hit shots and do whatever I wanted, but I just didn’t have the endurance in my ankle,” said Woods, “so we’ve been working on that and getting it to where I can still hit shots.

“But it’s the walking endurance that’s hard. That’s something that we’ve had to work on, walking distances on the beach, just basically stress it out but also be able to recover by the next day and see how it is inflammation-wise and then keep practicing.”

He added: ”It’s been an intricate little balance that we’ve had to dance but it’s gotten so much better the last couple months. I’m excited to go out there and compete and play with these guys.”
Woods has 82 PGA Tour victories to his name but has yet to taste victory at Riviera where he also made his debut as a 16-year-old amateur thanks to a sponsor invite.

“I am very rusty, but I’ve come off a rusty situation before and I’ve done well and I’ve had to utilise a lot of those tactics in practice,” he added, “plus also I know this golf course. I know I haven’t had a lot of success on this golf course, but I knew what shots to hit at home to get ready.”

Woods has previously stated that his schedule is likely to incorporate the four majors and maybe one or two further appearances during the course of the year with the Masters at the beginning of April set to be his next tournament.

“Would I like to play more? Yes. Will it allow me to? I don’t know,” added Woods, “I have to be realistic about that.”

Looking ahead to the battle for the Green Jacket, five-time winner Woods was also asked his thoughts about encountering those players who have left the PGA Tour for the LIV Golf League but who have been cleared to tee it up at Augusta such as former winners Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Patrick Reed.

“I don’t know what that reaction’s going to be,” said Woods. “I know that some of our friendships have certainly taken a different path, but we’ll see when all that transpires. That is still a couple months away.”

He added: “The Champions Dinner is going to be obviously something that’s talked about. We as a whole need to honor Scottie [Scheffler], Scottie’s the [2022] winner, it’s his dinner. So making sure that Scottie gets honored correctly but also realizing the nature of what has transpired and the people that have left, just where our situations are either legally, emotionally, there’s a lot there.”

The Genesis Invitational is the latest ‘elevated’ event in this season’s PGA Tour schedule that has been devised in answer to the threat of LIV Golf and aims to showcase the best players more often – and for greater prize money.

Woods has endorsed those changes but is adamant that the tour needs to look after all players.
“We need to keep going with it and need to stay aligned and keep progressing and making it better. We need to produce the best product we possibly can to sell to all the viewerships,” he said.

“There’s so many different distractions out there now, there’s so many different options that you have now so it’s about us creating the best products so we have more eyes on it, more stars, people want to come out and either watch the game of golf, participate, either on social media or the different streaming platforms.”

He added: “We have a lot of top players that are aligned since the Delaware meeting, and we’re trying to create that atmosphere across the board and understand that players need to be able to have access and ability to play at these elevated events and how do we do that.

“We want to create the next stars. I was lucky enough to get a sponsor’s exemption here at 16 years old. So is that possible in that new model? We need to create opportunities like that.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button