Repeatedly giving up, the Tiger Woods’ future

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For the third time since his return after his car accident, Tiger Woods had to resign during a tournament. This time, it wasn’t a physical injury that forced him to throw in the towel, but a virus. Regardless, this new setback only adds to the doubts surrounding his ability to return to the forefront.

Concern was very high when two fire trucks, an ambulance, and security officers parked in front of the Rivera Country Club clubhouse just minutes after Tiger Woods withdrew. Players, followers, journalists, everyone sought to obtain news of the champion’s health.

Without success. A few hours later, Tiger emerged from the building and left the tournament without a word, entrusting his associate and friend, Rob McNamara, to provide snippets of information in an effort to reassure. A virus (the flu) was the cause of American dehydration, leading to dizziness.

The scene still says a lot about the mystery surrounding Tiger Woods’ overall health and the growing questions about his future as a professional player. Since his accident in February 2021, the man with 15 Major victories has only been able to play seven tournaments.

He completed only three of them (47th at the 2022 Masters, 45th at the Genesis Invitational, and 18th out of 20 players at the 2023 Hero World Challenge). One missed cut (The Open 2022) and three retirements during tournaments (PGA Championship 2022, Masters 2023, and Genesis Invitational 2024) make his sporting record meager and his medical record worrying.

Tiger Woods, future

Asked at the end of last year, many French players expressed their doubts about the possibility of a winning comeback for Tiger. There aren’t many people left, it must be said, who believe in it, except perhaps Tiger Woods himself.

Who repeats at each of his public appearances that he enters tournaments to win. Except that reality is quite different, and painful. Certainly, thanks to impressive musculature, he is still a big hitter on the PGA Tour, but his swing lacks fluidity, and his leg and even back pain are far from being resolved.

His best card in two years? A 67 (-4) in the third round at Riviera last year. For the rest, Tiger has sometimes been pitiful, leaving his misery on the course grimacing in pain, sometimes evoking a vague sense of nostalgia when he occasionally performed miracles around the greens to compensate for his errors in the long game.

It’s good, but it’s not enough. The Players Championship before the Masters? At 48, his future on the PGA Tour is uncertain. He announced at the end of last year that he would play one tournament per month in 2023. As early as January, the promise could not be kept.

He claims to no longer suffer from the ankle, but he still limps conspicuously, and it’s hard to believe he is able to play four rounds regularly. Undoubtedly, as he hinted, he will take advantage of his passage into his fifties to head to the PGA Tour Champions, where he will be allowed to play in a cart.

He is, of course, exempt for life at the Masters, where we hope to see him in April. Will he play another tournament before Augusta? Perhaps he will compete in the Players Championship. It is unlikely that he will be at Bay Hill in March, for the fourth Signature Event of the season.

And for what? We really wouldn’t want his sporadic appearances to turn into something pathetic. All Tiger Woods fans dream of one last coup, one last major victory. His triumph at the 2019 Masters, more than 11 years after his previous Major victory (already on one leg at the 2008 US Open), was celebrated as a miracle because it was so unexpected…

Tiger has taught us to never say never. But we would need a glimmer of hope to start believing. Unfortunately, since that terrible crash in February 2021, Woods has shown no signs of a possible winning comeback. The only ray of hope is his ad for his new brand in which he says: “Every time they said I couldn’t, I showed I could.”

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