When Tiger Woods returned to PGA Tour action at the Quicken Loans National, just over three months after undergoing back surgery that forced him to miss the Masters and the U.S. Open, the results weren’t pretty. It was understandable, as Woods had just begun hitting full shots in rehab a week or two prior, but it was a solid first step towards recovery. Certainly this meant he was amping up for the remaining majors on the 2014 schedule.
Somehow, Woods’ former coach, Hank Haney, doesn’t see it that way.
Earlier this week, Haney told Scottish paper The Scotsman that the 14-time major champion’s decision not to enter any more tournaments between Congressional and the Open Championship adds up to a lack of “caring” on Woods’ part.
“That he isn’t going to play competitively in the two weeks running up to the Open speaks to the fact that he doesn’t care as much as he used to,” the coach said. “Still, you can’t win if you don’t enter. Maybe he will catch lightning in a bottle. But I really think he is using the Open to get ready for the PGA [Championship] at Valhalla next month. That’s a much more realistic target for him.”
With all due respect to Haney, who arguably knows Tiger as well or better than almost anybody on the planet, really? If anything, the one thing that has never been in question is the fire Tiger Woods carries for competition, specifically in major championships. He has always said that he wants to win every tournament he enters, but we all know that, at 38 years old, only four really matter anymore.
Haney did go on to say that Tiger obviously needed more practice time to be ready for Royal Liverpool, the site of Woods’ last Open victory in 2006. It seems to me that, especially if Woods isn’t totally recovered from his back surgery as it appeared at Congressional, that taking more time to rest and practice at home might be his best chance of truly being competition-ready at the Open. Sure, there’s no replacement for tournament golf, but Tiger’s been around the block enough to know what he’s getting into.
Now, will Tiger actually be ready for Hoylake? At this point, I’m not sure anybody could tell you, but with just a week remaining, we’ll all get a first-hand look soon enough.