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Setback, not comeback! How much disappointment can Tiger Woods take?

It was a different set of withdrawal symptoms for Tiger Woods this time around, but NCG’s Matt Chivers questions if the golf icon’s patience with his own body could soon run thin

 

Tiger Woods has plenty of W’s on his recent record, but they’re regrettably followed by D’s.

Being carted from the course at Riviera Country Club with influenza was the latest setback in what was meant to be a new beginning for Woods.

He was full of smiles and vibrance at the start of the week in Los Angeles as Sun Day Red was introduced to the world, featuring brand-new lines of polo shirts, hoodies and midlayers.

Let’s hope the new Woods x TaylorMade venture produces hot water bottles and blankets too.

When footage emerged of the 48-year-old being escorted from hole 7, doubts were immediately cast around his physical health.

Suppose there was hysteria brewing at Woods’ initial withdrawal from the Genesis Invitational. In that case, the mind boggles what golf fans thought when images emerge of an ambulance and a fire engine on the scene.

Thankfully they weren’t needed, but it was less than a year ago when Dr Martin O’Malley was needed to perform surgery to address post-traumatic arthritis in Woods’ foot.

This was after brutal conditions at the Masters forced Woods to pull his name from the field. He trudged around the course with that increasingly familiar limp which will be a teething issue for the foreseeable future.

At the PGA Championship a year before, one clip showed Woods walking down a slope and his leg buckling in a grim fashion before he withdrew from the event at Southern Hills.

To be fair, this time around at ‘Riv’ wasn’t your typical Tiger withdrawal. Both he and close friend Rob McNamara have said he was ill and his back and leg aren’t an issue. Gary Woodland also said “he wasn’t himself.”

tiger woods tee time

ALSO: What driver did Tiger Woods use at Riviera?

But it is another 72-hole event he hasn’t completed. It’s another 72-hole event in which he hasn’t started the final 18 holes.

Sure, he played well at this event, which he regularly hosts, 12 months ago but his body was building towards a breakdown which was laid bare at Augusta National.

Are we one more Tiger Woods injury away from retirement?

Woods will aim to play the first major of the year in April, a tournament he has won five times, but I wonder how many withdrawals it will take from now on for him to accept defeat.

Let’s hypothetically grant Woods a free shot at 72 holes at the Masters. Imagine the cut doesn’t apply to ‘the Cat’.

If there was a betting market for Woods to complete 72 holes, what price would you want? Would you back him to hole out on 18 on Sunday?

If it gets to the point where you know he isn’t going to finish, then why start the race?

Many, many people have probably told Woods to stop and he’s ignored them. He became a 15-time major champion because of it.

His mental strength is as impressive as his victory record itself, but his aim to play once a month (play meaning without withdrawing), as much as we would love to see it, is fanciful.

For someone who made his debut on the PGA Tour in 1992, Woods evidently doesn’t want to close this book as he grimly battles to start a new page.

Each comeback he makes leads to countless clips of his swing, his ball speeds and shot trajectories, but soon the tumbleweeds will follow and expectations will be non-existent, even from the most die-hard TW fans, if more early exits are made.

How many disappointments does Tiger have left? When will the patience with his body snap?

NOW READ: Jordan Spieth DQd from Genesis Invitational after incorrect scorecard blunder

NOW READ: How can I get hold of the new Tiger Woods clothing?

Are we edging toward a Tiger Woods retirement? Tell us on X/Twitter!

Matt Chivers

Matt Chivers

Now on the wrong side of 25, Matt has been playing golf since the age of 13 and was largely inspired to take up the game by countless family members who played golf during his childhood.

Matt is a member at Royal Cinque Ports in Deal playing off a 5 handicap, just a pitching wedge away from his hometown of Dover where he went to school and grew up. He has previously been a member at Etchinghill and Walmer and Kingsdown in Kent.

Having studied history at the University of Liverpool, Matt went on to pass his NCTJ Exams in Manchester a year later to fulfil his lifelong ambition of becoming a journalist. He picked up work experience along the way at places such as the Racing Post, the Independent, Sportsbeat and the Lancashire Evening Post.

Matt joined NCG in February 2023 and is the website’s main source of tour news, features and opinion. He has reported live from events such as The Open, the Ryder Cup and The Players Championship, having also interviewed and spent time with some of the biggest names in the sport.

Consuming tour golf on what is a 24/7 basis, you can come to Matt for informed views on the game and the latest updates on the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour and LIV Golf.

What’s in Matt’s bag: Cobra LTDx LS driver, Cobra LTDx 3-wood, TaylorMade P7MC irons, Ping Glide 4.0 wedges, Odyssey putter.

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