When will Tiger Woods play competitive golf again? Your guess is as good as his.
On the eve of the Genesis Invitational, with the one-year anniversary of his single-car crash in Southern California fast approaching, Woods — who was appearing at a press conference Wednesday as part of his hosting duties — was once again loath to put a timetable on a comeback.
Sitting alongside Aaron Beverly, the recipient of the Charlie Sifford Memorial exemption, Woods fielded questions for about 35 minutes, touching on topics ranging from the iconic venue (Riviera Country Club) to his relationship with Sifford to the PGA Tour media rights issue that set off a Phil Mickelson tirade. More than anything, though, the assembled media wanted answers on Woods’ health and the state of his game — and it’s clear he’s still efforting those answers himself.
“I wish I could tell you when I’m playing again — I want to know,’’ Woods said. “But I don’t. My golf activity has been very limited. I can chip and putt really well. And hit short irons very well. But I haven’t done any long stuff seriously.
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“I’m still working on the walking part. My foot was a little messed up there a year ago. My walking I’m still working on. Getting strength back. It takes time. What’s frustrating is my timetable. I want to be at a certain place and I’m not. I’m getting better, yes. But not at the speed I would like. It’s frustrating.”
Woods said he was capable of walking the par 3 course at Augusta National Golf Club but was by no means committing to an appearance at the Masters in April. Pressed for a more definitive outlook on his playing status, Wood provided a glimmer of optimism.
“Will I come back? Yes,” Woods said. “Will I come back and play a full schedule? No.”
Here are some other highlights:
- Woods called Sifford, for whom his son Charlie was named, “the grandfather I never had.” The flags this week at Riviera will be emblazoned with the No. 100 as a nod to what would have been Sifford’s 100th birthday. He died in 2015 at age 92.
- Video games and books have occupied much of Woods’ leisure time; Dean Koontz is his favorite author.
- Asked for his reaction to Mickelson’s impassioned stance on media rights, Woods said: “We’ve had struggles with that for decades, really. …. What we didn’t understand at the time — I go back with the Tour 25 years — is where our Tour would go, where our media would go. We barely had cell phones. Barely had the internet. Media rights is a big thing. A lot of us are concerned about the direction we’re going and how we can have more control with that.”
Woods, Beverly Share A Common Bond
There was some good banter throughout the press conference between Woods and Beverly, who were dressed in similar outfits. In a touching moment, Beverly was asked for his earliest memory of watching Woods play. He said he remembers seeing his father break down in tears watching the 1997 Masters when Beverly was just 3 years old. Beverly, 27, was able to watch Woods win the 2019 Masters with his father before Ron Beverly passed away due to an illness later that year at age 72. “There’s probably nobody who understands that better than Mr. Woods,” Beverly said.