“Tiger Back”

tiger woods hero

He’s back!!

None other than the world’s most popular golfer: Tiger Tiger Woods y’all.

After a 301-day hiatus from competitive golf, Woods returned to the links on Thursday to play in the Hero World Challenge. The Hero World Challenge is a tournament for 18 of the top golfers in the world, hosted by Tiger Woods himself. It’s a 4-day tournament, being played in Albany. No, not that Albany. Albany in the Bahamas.

After a 10-month stretch away from professional golf, Tiger Woods completed his comeback from various obstacles. He had his 4th back surgery this past April, a single level fusion-surgery. The purpose of this surgery is to create space in the back, in order to alleviate pain and stop back spasms. Typical recovery is approximately 6 months. Woods also battled personal demons before returning to the golf course. After being arrested for DUI in May, Woods entered a rehabilitation facility to get his use of pain medications under control.

For all you Tiger Woods fanatics out there, you’ll recall this isn’t the first time Woods made a long awaited return to golf at his own tournament. Following back surgery #3, and a 15-month recovery, Woods made a comeback at the Hero World Challenge in 2016.

How did he play yesterday??

Considering he’s 41 years old, had back surgery 7 months ago, and hasn’t played competitive golf in nearly a year, I’d say he played fantastic!! Woods shot a 3-under, 69, leaving him just 3 strokes off the lead (Tommy Fleetwood). Granted this course isn’t playing extremely tough, as 15 of the 18 player field finished under par yesterday. But at the same time, 8 of the top 10 golfers in the world are competing in this tournament.

Now, as much as I enjoy watching Tiger Woods dominate on a golf course, and as much as the sport needs him, all those asking how many majors he’ll win next year need to pump the brakes. Seriously, slam on your brakes RIGHT NOW before you rear end someone!! Listen, it’s nice to see that Woods can still post scores under par. And I’m glad he’s handled his personal issues. But, can we watch him play top notch golf for a few months before we crown Tiger Woods the 2018 Masters Champion????

Allow me to contradict myself — slightly. I will never doubt Tiger Woods. I simply DO NOT doubt greatness. I never doubted Michael Jordan each time he (un)retired. I don’t plan on doubting Serena Williams as she prepares to return to competitive tennis after the birth of her 1st child. And I’m not going to doubt a HEALTHY Tiger Woods. If, and this is a big if, he can stay healthy, don’t be surprised if he starts winning golf tournaments.

 

Will Tiger Woods win another major?? Post your prediction in the comment section below.

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SURPRISE!! Another Guy You’ve Never Heard Of Won The U.S. Open

brooks-koepka-us-open

Brooks Koepka. Tommy Fleetwood. Xander Schauffele. Brian Harman. Stop me when I get to someone you’ve heard of before. If you were 1 of the 6 people watching the U.S. Open yesterday, you probably know who these guys are. As for the rest of you, I’m betting you couldn’t pick them out of a lineup. They would be 4 of the top 5 finishers at this year’s U.S. Open. The other? Hideki Matsuyama. Oh..you’ve never heard of him either? I was giving you too much credit. Sorry.

Brooks Koepka pulled away from the field on Sunday, with 3 birdies in a row on the back-9 (holes 14-16). Koepka finished at -16, winning his 1st Major. Koepka’s -16 is tied for the lowest score to par in U.S. Open history (Rory Mcilroy – 2011). Mcilroy, golf’s #2 ranked golfer, missed the cut this year. As did golf’s #1 and #3 ranked golfers. Mcilroy has now missed the cut in consecutive U.S Opens. This says a lot about the state of golf.

This marks the 7th consecutive year the U.S. Open has been won by a 1st-time Major winner. This ALSO says a lot about the state of golf. Without Tiger Woods, or a notable superstar, golf is fairly unwatchable. Die-hard golf fans will always be there, watching every tournament no matter who’s on the leaderboard. But I’m not talking about the die-hard fans. I’m talking about the casual golf fans, ya know the ones every sport needs to keep their bank accounts overflowing.

Golf is starving for its next great superstar.

Since when does FOX cover golf by the way?! And since when does Joe Buck do golf?! I thought their coverage was atrocious. I know Fox signed a 12-year contract to cover the U.S. Open back in 2015, but we need a breach of contract over here. Pleaseeee. I know golf is struggling, but do they think Joe Buck screaming BRIAN HARMAN FOR THE BIRDIE is going to help matters?? Newsflash, this is golf, not an NFL Sunday with Aaron Rodgers dropping back to pass!! Joe, as talented of an announcer as you are, we can tell you don’t know anything about golf. You sound like you’re reading off a list of stats and facts about each golfer. I have an idea. Why don’t we take some of that $15 million you’re worth, and get you some golf lessons. What do you say?? It may help retain those 6 viewers.

Like the majority of sports fans, I won’t watch another golf tournament until the 2017 Open Championship (British Open). Mark July 20th through the 23rd on your calendar to see who will hoist the Claret Jug at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England. Or don’t. Either way. Either way is fine. For golf’s sake, I hope Phil Mickelson plays and golf’s top golfers make the cut this time. I don’t really want to watch Trey Mullinax win his 1st Major. Oh no, he is a real person. I didn’t make him up. He is ranked 373rd in the world, and just finished tied for 9th (-8) at the U.S. Open. It’s not Mr. Mullinax’s fault, but his success is the reason why golf is struggling.

I don’t see golf’s savior anywhere on the horizon….

Did you watch the U.S. Open?? How many golf tournaments do you watch each year??

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well. You can also follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!