Speculation mounts over Tiger's possible PGA Tour return
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
(Reuters) - With Tiger Woods hitting golf balls at a juniors clinic in South Carolina earlier this week, media speculation has been mounting that the former world number one could make his PGA Tour return within the next month.
The 14-times major champion has been sidelined from competition since August as he continues his recovery from back surgeries, but has been ramping up his practice routine while at home in Florida.
Some analysts suggest that Woods could make his PGA Tour return as early as the May 5-8 Wells Fargo Championship, but his manager Mark Steinberg said on Friday there was "nothing new to report" with regard to a timetable.
Woods' long-time friend Notah Begay III, a 43-year-old Native American golfer who won four times on the PGA Tour, was wary of getting "too carried away" with media speculation.
"What I can say is that I have seen his progression throughout its entirety," Begay said on Friday in his role as a television analyst with Golf Channel, a day after teaming up with Woods for the juniors clinic at Sage Valley.
"I started seeing him engage in different areas on his rehabilitation ... started seeing him hit pitch shots and then being able to host a clinic with him and walk him through his entire bag from the wedges all the way to the driver.
"So if I were to evaluate this from a beginning point to an end point, with the end goal being a PGA Tour start, Tiger Woods is on the back end of this rehabilitation process."