Tiger Woods’ return doesn’t mean a return to normal

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The PGA Tour has been again for 5 weeks and already has delivered a event scoring file one week, a former No. 1 successful any other week, two sudden-death playoffs and a participant who grew by way of two blouse sizes to check out to exchange the sport.

And it nonetheless felt as although one thing used to be lacking.

Or any person.

That modified a short time previous 7 a.m. Tuesday when Tiger Woods pulled his courtesy automotive into the parking zone at Muirfield Village, modified his sneakers and started arrangements for his first PGA Tour match in 5 months.

He used to be dressed in a masks.

The return of Woods isn’t the return to normal, apart from for the ones observing on tv.

Woods had an concept of what to be expecting from seeing empty golfing classes at Colonial and Harbour Town or even final week at Muirfield Village. He has heard from pals on excursion how eerie it’s without a lovers, no cheering.

“It’s a very different world out here not to have the distractions, the noise, the excitement, the energy that the fans bring,” Woods stated. “It’s just a silent and different world.”And it’s going to keep that manner.

The PGA Tour returned June 11, and the Memorial used to be meant to be the primary event with lovers, at 20 in line with cent capability, till coronavirus circumstances started to spike and the prudent motion used to be to play it secure.

The “Nicklaus Club” hospitality tent remains to be to the best of the 16th tee. A small grandstand overlooks the 18th inexperienced. There wasn’t time to dismantle them.

Four extra tournaments introduced Monday they gained’t have spectators, all through the Tour Championship to finish the FedEx Cup season.

They’re nonetheless taking part in, although. And now, so is Woods.

“I think he was starting to get a little sassy,” Justin Thomas stated over the weekend.

“I was telling him he’s scared to come out and play against all of us when he’s sitting at home, just trying to give him a hard time. But yeah, we’re excited to have him out.”Woods and Thomas performed the again 9 Tuesday morning with simply over a dozen other folks observing, principally media. That’s now not fully new for Woods.

The ultimate spherical of his victory in Japan had no spectators as a result of flooding.

The 3rd spherical of the AT&T National in 2012 had no lovers as a result of a freak wind hurricane that toppled 75-foot bushes at Congressional.

They have been again tomorrow. They gained’t be at Muirfield Village all week.

They will probably be lacking as Woods, a five-time winner of the event Jack Nicklaus constructed, is going after his 83rd occupation victory to damage the PGA Tour file he stocks with Sam Snead.

Woods used to be final observed at a PGA Tour match on Feb. 16 at Riviera, the place he shot 77 and completed in final position. His again felt stiff within the chilly climate. He skipped the following 4 weeks to be in form for the Masters, after which the pandemic took place.

Woods has slightly been observed in any respect this yr.

That a lot used to be transparent when Woods used to be requested about his possibilities of successful after a five-month layoff. His intentions are to win, similar to all the time.

Can he do it this week? He went simply over two months with out taking part in final fall and gained in his first event again on the Zozo Championship.

“Whether that plays out come Sunday, hopefully that will be the case,” he stated.

“It was that one particular week — well, three tournaments ago at Zozo. There’s no reason I can’t do it again this week.” Three tournaments in the past for Woods used to be just about 9 months in the past.

Any event would really like to have Woods within the box, however on this atmosphere, does it even subject? It’s now not like price ticket gross sales would explode as a result of there are not any tickets to promote.

So it turns into a TV display, and that’s now not dangerous, both.

The actual adjustment for Woods is how he handles the silence. He has fed off the gallery longer than he’s been a professional. He used to be requested if he would have to return to his Stanford days for the final time it used to be simply him and different gamers at the path.

“Well, even in college I had a few people following,” he stated with a chortle.

The chip-in from at the back of the 16th hollow when he gained the Memorial in 2012? The chip he made for par off the 14th inexperienced when he gained in 1999? Any birdie he’s ever made at Muirfield Village? They all have been adopted by way of the loudest cheers.

“For most of my career, pretty much almost every competitive playing round that I’ve been involved in, I’ve had people around me, spectators yelling, a lot of movement inside the gallery with camera crews and media,” Woods stated.

That used to be his international.

Not lengthy after Nick Faldo helped Woods into the golf green jacket on the 1997 Masters, a part of him puzzled if that used to be the one main Woods may just win.

Faldo’s level used to be that whilst the path suited him, Augusta National used to be the one main that stored the horde of media at a distance. As it grew to become out, Faldo later learned, that changed into an asset.

“Everyone joining him now on the weekend at a major goes into his world. That’s Tiger’s arena,” Faldo stated in a 2007 interview.

“Other guys will step into that arena one week and go back out. He’s there all the time. And good luck coming into his world.”It’s a other international now, a word Woods used 5 instances Tuesday.

It’s everybody’s international.

But simply seeing him at Muirfield Village gave the golfing international a slight sense of normalcy.

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