No clear view ahead for Tiger on PGA Tour return

Wed Sep 7, 2016 3:37pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - As Tiger Woods prepares for what many pundits believe to be the final chapter of his competitive career, it is fair to say that the crystal ball detailing what lies ahead for him is totally opaque at this point.

No one, not even Woods himself, can possibly know how the former world number one will fare should he make his PGA Tour return next month, as he hopes to do, after an absence of more than a year dating back to the 2015 Wyndham Championship.

The 14-times major champion has competed in only 18 events on the U.S. circuit since the end of 2013 while being blighted by injuries and poor form, recording just one top-10 during that period along with six missed cuts and three withdrawals.

Ongoing back problems led to surgeries in September and again in October and Woods, in the twilight of his career at the age of 40, knows full well that time is not on his side as he strives to get his game back in shape.

"I still have work to do," Woods said in a statement on Wednesday after announcing his intention to make a competitive return to golf next month, beginning with the PGA Tour's Safeway Open in Napa, California.

"Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go."

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 expecting too much too soon.

"He's been on the shelf too long to do any sort of thorough evaluation of where he's at with any element of his game," Begay said on Wednesday in his role as a Golf Channel analyst.   Continued...

Tiger Woods of the U.S. tees off on the eighth hole during the third round of the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open in the southwest city of Antalya November 9, 2013. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo