Out of the Bunker: The Tiger Effect


A strange thing happened at the Hero World Challenge a couple of weeks ago in the Bahamas.

Those watching the tournament noticed glimpses of what was once the most mesmerizing golf we had ever seen. I am referring, of course, to Tiger Woods.

First, I must divulge that I am not much of a fan of Woods off the golf course. He’s made tremendous errors in judgement, and he hasn’t always been the most endearing to his supporters.

However, I am a huge Woods fan on the golf course. For moments during the Hero World Challenge, I felt like I was watching Woods from over 15 years ago.

He looked fresh, he swung rhythmically and he was making putts. I’m not sure if this is a sign of what is to come, but wouldn’t it be awesome if that’s how it plays out?

When Woods is relevant in the golf world, everything just feels different.

There is more anticipation for upcoming events, and there is just more excitement throughout the game.

Even the top players on tour understand the significance of a strong return for Woods.

Justin Thomas, last year’s Player of the Year, was noticeably excited playing with Woods in the final round. Mid-way through their round together, Thomas was heard expressing to someone how awesome it was to see Woods playing so well.

This looked like the Woods that Thomas, Jordan Spieth and countless other tour stars grew up idolizing as a golfer.

But will it last?

I don’t recall the number of “comebacks” that Woods has made over the past few years.

Typically, Tiger comes back to the game feeling ready to compete at a high level, only to eventually re-injure his back and limp away from the game again. We’ve seen it over and over.

I’m hoping that this time is different.

Watching a healthy Woods come back to compete with guys like Spieth, Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and others would be an incredibly boost for golf.

Could you imagine a scenario where Michael Jordan was to return to the NBA and compete against Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and other NBA stars?

We all know that could never happen. However, that’s the closest comparison I can find for what Woods could potentially bring to golf.

The months ahead will go a long way in determining the reality of this situation. Heck, by the time this article gets published, Woods may have already re-injured himself.

I hope not.

As a fellow PGA professional, I am rooting for Woods to come back and be a dominant presence in the world of golf.

Do I think it will happen? Probably not. But, would I like to see it happen?

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