Tiger Woods Makes Return to Golf After Chaotic 2017
By: Tommy Zimmer – To say 2017 was not the year of Tiger Woods is an understatement. It was one of the most challenging years for the professional golfer that began in 2008 when he started to experience knee troubles. Despite this, he was still able to win the U.S. Open that year. Following knee surgery in 2009, he ended up falling to the ranking of seventh-best player in the world during March 2011. Just under 10 years later in 2017, Woods would have a spinal fusion surgery to address pains he was experiencing in his back. His troubles did not stop there.
Woods had to take different medications to deal with the pain from his physical troubles but also because of the surgeries he had to undergo. Unfortunately, trouble struck the same year as his surgery. He was arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Woods was said to be asleep in his car with it running but not moving in a traffic lane. He completed an out-of-state intensive program to look at how he deals with his pain and medications. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids found that 23.5 million US citizens struggle with an addiction to substances but only 11 percent of those struggling ever find treatment. In Woods’ case, it might have helped to seek help from a holistic rehab because of the physical pain he was under.
Woods skipped his arraignment on August 9 of that year and entered a not guilty plea via his attorney. He agreed to take part in a first-time DUI offender program and had another arraignment in the future. It’s not known if that program involved a holistic rehab or some other sort of addiction treatment. These events that impacted his health left the future of the once number one golfer in the world up in the air. Yet, that did not stop David Feherty, a former professional golfer and current television personality, from declaring that Woods can indeed find success once more in his career as a golfer.
“Hey, Tiger, Feherty from Pyeongchang where I’m freezing my…where it’s really cold,” Feherty said. “I just wanted to welcome you back to Riviera even though, I’m not there. I was there for so many of your appearances, and I know that you’re on your way back and everyone is looking forward to seeing you play. Over the last 20 years, I’ve been proud to call you my friend, and I’m really glad to see you on the road back to recovery. If you can stay healthy, I know that you can win. I know that you can win.”
Feherty said these encouraging remarks when the Genesis Open was going on at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles, California. The cut was two-over 144. Patrick Cantlay and Graeme McDowell both shared the second-round lead. During the 36 holes, Woods had 12 bogeys with a double and 15 pars. He was lower on the leaderboard as a result.
“I’m starting to come back, and it’s going to take a little time,” Woods said. “I am progressing. I’m starting to get a feel for tournament golf again.” Rory McIlroy, one of his rivals, said that Woods is making his path back to golf again.
“He’s very close,” McIlroy said. “He’s still trying to figure things out with his equipment. I think everyone has to be patient with him, especially him being patient with it and just give himself time. It’s not too far away.” Woods’ return came when he played in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, California on Thursday, January 25- Sunday, January 28.
Woods finished one-under 71 at Torrey Pines. It took him four birdies on the back nine of the course with one on the final hole to make the cut. Going forward, he has The Honda Classic from February 19-26 at the PGA National Resort & Spa – Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
The concern for many is whether or not Woods can handle all these tournaments. While he said he wants to continue playing multiple tournaments to get back into the world of golf, he did admit some concerns going forward with his game.
“One of my hallmarks of my whole career is I’ve always hit the ball pin – high with my iron shots, and I have not done that,” Woods said. “My wedge game is fine, but my normal irons that I’ve always had dialed in for much of my career, it’s just not there.” The last time Woods played well at the Honda Classic was in 2012. He finished at 62 to be runner-up to Rory McIlroy at the tournament’s close. As Tiger continues to make his way back to the world of golf, his fans will continue to remain interested to see where he goes from here.
Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.