Tiger To Return ‘Shortly’

Here’s some news the players on the PGA Tour really don’t want to hear- Tiger Woods is set to return to competition sooner rather than later. Woods’ longtime caddie Steve Williams told Television New Zealand in an exclusive interview that his boss was set to return to the PGA Tour in the “next few weeks.”

“It will be anytime, shortly,” Williams said. “He’s just got a couple of little issues but when he tees it up that will be a sign to say ‘I’m ready to go’ because he won’t play unless he’s 100 percent. It’s getting closer…anytime in the next few weeks he’s going to tee it up. He definitely wants to play a couple of tournaments before Augusta so any day now he’s going to make a decision when he’s going to play.”

Those couple of tournaments have been speculated upon since Woods underwent knee surgery following his historic U.S Open win at Torrey Pines last June. Many assumed The Masters would be his return but as always with Woods, his rehab and recovery have been motoring along at a rate better than originally expected. It is now speculated his return to tournament play will be the WGC-Accenture Match Play next week in Tucson or possibly the World Golf Championship at Doral beginning March 12.

The date for Wood’s return may have been pushed back due to the birth of his second child, Charles Axel, on February 7. Woods’ himself notes on his website that following the birth, “things have been great (except for a little thing called sleep).” suggesting that while his knee may be at full strength, his preparation may not currently be running on all cylinders.

“He’s probably 95 percent of the way there. He was waiting for the birth of his second child which just came last week so he’s ready to go. He just needs a little bit more walking. He hasn’t been able to walk too well.”

It has been reported by close friends John Cook and Mark O’Meara that Woods has been practicing hard at his home course of Isleworth in Florida and his swing and knee look strong and back to full strength.

“He hasn’t told me personally when he’s going to start back, but I know he’s pretty much almost ready to start back, so I wouldn’t be surprised,” O’Meara said Monday after visiting Woods and his family at their Florida home. “I would say he’s better than ever. His legs bothered him for about three years and it had been pretty bad. I think the break was probably the best thing that ever happened to him.”

Despite O’Meara’s confidence, Williams remains unsure of Woods’ ability to return to full strength straight away, but stressed it’s impossible to rule out anything when it comes to Woods.

“He’s had to modify his swing a little bit to accommodate his knee, but the guy always finds a way,” Williams said. “I’m a little nervous myself to see how he’s going to come back. Nine months out of the game after a major operation is a long time but he’s a hell of a competitor and one of the best we’ve ever seen in this game so I would suspect he’ll carry right on.” 

Woods has until Friday, February 20 to enter for the WGC-Accenture Match Play where he will be the No. 1 seed.

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