In December, Tiger Woods played a round of golf with Donald Trump – then US President-elect’s son Donald Jr and granddaughter Kai completing the foursome – at the Trump International course at West Palm Beach, Florida.
Woods was most impressed with the 70-year-old’s fitness, adding that despite small hands for a big man, he gives the golf ball a rip.
The US media has installed Trump, who has a handicap of 2.8, as the number one golfer among US Presidents among John F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Franklin D. Roosevelt, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, with Ronald Reagan rounding off the top ten.
Woods was the world’s number one golfer for a record 683 weeks, but he’ll be a lowly 653 when he tees off early tomorrow morning (AEDT), with the current No.1, Jason Day, and No.3, Dustin Johnson, for the first 36 holes of the Farmers Insurance at Torrey Pines.
Woods has won at this tournament a record eight times, but hasn’t won a major since the 2008 US Open, nor a USPGA tournament success since the WGC-Bridgewater Invitational in 2013.
The last tournament Woods played after a medical and surgical break from August 23, 2015, was his own – the Hero Challenge, last month – carding more birdies (24) than the rest of the elite field.
But eight bogeys and six doubles saw Woods finish 15th in the 18-man field, with winner Hideki Matsuyama finishing 18-under, including two eagles, 22 birdies, four bogeys, and two doubles.
Matsuyama is also in the Farmers Insurance field, along with Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, defending champion Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, and Jimmy Walker.
The other heavies – Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, and Alex Noren – are playing on the European tour for the immediate future.
But obviously, all eyes will be on Tiger.
To make the cut would be the starting point, with no one believing he’ll be a contender. But, to a man, all those interviewed are excited Tiger is back in the fold – the rest is up to him.
He’s just had his 41st birthday, so he’s not a spring chicken, with the pressure this week on his short game and putting.
Woods still believes he can add to his 14 majors, to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record 18, and his 79 tournament victories, to beat Sammy Snead’s record 82. Time will tell.