Tiger Woods registered for the U.S. Open, which was more procedure than pronouncement. Three weeks later, he played five holes during the official opening of the golf course he designed outside Houston. The next step is returning to competition, for which the timeframe remains unknown.
Monday was the first time he had played any golf holes since the Wyndham Championship in August, he said, contrary to speculation that he had played at The Medalist near his home in South Florida. He described those five holes at Bluejack National as “nice and smooth.”
“That’s harder than I have been going at it the last month,” Woods told reporters for Global Golf Post and ESPN. “Just gradually progressing. We’re just trying to progress, and I’m doing that.”
As for the return? Woods said he hasn’t set a date, which he described as frustrating. Then again, he said, he never would have thought he would be this far along five months ago at his tournament in the Bahamas, where he was in pain from two back surgeries.
Woods had to register for the U.S. Open at Oakmont (June 16-19) by the deadline Wednesday.
He offered mixed signals to reporters on when he might play again.
Woods said he has to get stronger and faster and that “I’m not hitting it very far right now.” He said he was able to hit the ball as far as he is now without too much effort, and that he’s trying to work on new drivers.
“I know I need to hit a bunch of drivers. But I can’t hit a bunch of drivers,” he said. “I’m trying to figure that out.”
Then again, he said he eventually has to get back to a competitive environment, where he has to be patient and “plod my way along.”
“I can play a lot more at home and get my playing sense back, but tournament golf is so much different,” he said. “And I’ll have to make those adjustments. And the only way to make those adjustments is to get out there in the heat and feel it.”
NOW ON THE TEE: It took two starters to replace Ivor Robson at golf’s oldest championship.
The R&A said Tuesday it has appointed David Lancaster and Matt Corker to announce players on the first tee at the British Open this summer at Royal Troon. Lancaster served as a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy and now is a corporate consultant on giving presentations. Corker was superintendent of the Royal Hong Kong police and now works at Lancaster’s company.
They replace Robson, who had been the official starter at the British Open for more than 40 years until he retired after St. Andrews. Robson never left the tee from 6:30 a.m. until the final group was announced some 10 hours later.
Lancaster will be the primary starter, and Corker will relieve him.