As if we didn’t know it already, when Tiger Woods talks, the world listens. On Saturday, Woods posted a new blog on his website for the first time since December of 2012 and it covered a wide range of subjects. Even if he’s not the one actually sitting at the keyboard, his post does provide good insight into what the world’s No. 1 player is doing as he rehabs from an elbow injury.
“I started chipping and putting a little over a week ago and I’m full go for the British Open,” Woods said in the opening line of his blog. “I’m very confident that my left elbow strain won’t be a problem and I will be able to hit all the shots I need to hit. That’s why I took the time off, so it could heal, and I would feel comfortable playing again.”
Woods went on to say that, while he is still taking medication for the injury, he has been practicing every day and is ready to get back into competitive mode. But what does this all mean for his chances at a fourth Claret Jug?
It’s important to remember that Woods had been dealing with this injury since the final round of The Players Championship back in May. He pushed through it for his fourth win of the 2013 PGA Tour season, but he struggled mightily at the Memorial and the U.S. Open. After a month away from the game, how much can we really expect out of his first week back?
There will be plenty more Tiger news to cover in the days ahead, but it is safe to say that this news from Woods is exactly what would be expected in the lead-up to a major. We’ve seen Woods win a U.S. Open on one knee, so a sore elbow was never going to keep him away from Muirfield. We’ve also seen him struggle to get back into top form following knee and Achilles injuries in recent years. As good as he was before the injury, expectations need to be tempered.
Muirfield is going to be a hard enough test for a fully healthy and practiced player. You can never doubt Woods’s work ethic, but he’s said in the past that he’s crossed the line between playing “hurt” and playing “injured.” Is he doing that again?
I still think Woods will win another major very soon, but we’ll have to wait and see which Tiger shows up in Scotland this week.