Restart will be interesting: Tiger

MIAMI • Tiger Woods has admitted his surgically repaired back may never be 10 out of 10 again, but it will not stop him going full pelt when the PGA Tour resumes on June 11 after a three-month coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

Speaking after partnering former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning for a one-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in Sunday's charity event in Florida to raise funds for Covid-19 relief efforts, the 15-time Major champion revealed he had used the down time to get himself in shape for an expected condensed season.

"It is going to be interesting," said Woods. "I am used to trying to peak for Majors in April, May, June and July, forever. Now this (pandemic) has changed everything. It is fluid. It is on the fly."

Asked to rate how his back feels on a scale of one to 10, the American replied: "Well, let's just say 10 is not what it used to be."

The former world No. 1 displayed little rust during the 18-hole match, which included nine holes of four-ball and nine holes of modified alternate shot as well as on-course challenges, despite featuring in his first event since coming in last at the Genesis Invitational on Feb 16.

He rarely missed a shot of any kind and consistently hammered his driver, a sometime nemesis, accurately and with power. His swing was fluid, he walked with ease and he frequently bent and stretched without any apparent discomfort. His short game could be dazzling.

On his fitness routine since sport shut down in March, he said he had added tennis to his workouts.

"It is nice to be at home training each and every day," he added. "I get some treatment on it (his back) and get onto a routine basically.

"We (have) all been very careful and try to stay at home. It has been good in that regard because I have been able to spend a lot of time with my kids. We had a lot of fun.

"This is the most amount of tennis I have played ever."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2020, with the headline 'Restart will be interesting: Tiger'. Print Edition | Subscribe