Reaction to the expected return of Tiger Woods
September 07, 2016
By Staff , PGATOUR.COM
- September 07, 2016
- "I’m hoping we can get paired together," Phil Mickelson said of Tiger Woods and the Safeway Open. (Getty Images)
Reaction from the golf community regarding Tiger Woods’ announcement that he hopes to return to competitive golf in October at the Safeway Open, the PGA TOUR’s 2016-17 season opener:
PHIL MICKELSON: “I think it’s great; I don’t know the state of his health, I haven’t seen him. I’m looking forward to spending time with him at the Ryder Cup. I think that’ll be great motivation for him. Plus he’ll have a week off.
Just like it did for Sergio years ago when he was a vice captain, it was kind of a motivating factor for him. Hopefully it’ll be the same for Tiger when he comes back out.
I’m hoping we can get paired together. That would be really fun. I would love it. It’s great to have him back and hopefully he’s physically able to practice the way he needs.
We’re always going to have high expectations because the guy is arguably one of the two greatest players in history if not the greatest. Our expectations of him will always be high. It doesn’t mean given all the health issues and challenges that he’s faced… it doesn’t mean that’s fair."
JASON DAY: “It's great. I'm looking forward to seeing him play again, seeing what the state of his game is. Obviously, it's been this time I think he's done it the right way by waiting and not coming back too soon. There's been a couple of times where I feel like he may have come back too soon and kind of injured himself a little bit more and that's what's kept him out of the game so long. But there's probably a lot of anticipation to see how the state of his game is and I'm definitely looking forward to watching those tournaments and seeing how his body holds up and how the mental side and obviously the golf side of things hold up as well. …
I think the hardest thing for him is just to try and get the rust out and really get back to game ready sharpness, which is obviously a difficult thing to do. Although we're expecting big things from him, I don't expect too much from him, even though he is Tiger Woods. It's hard to say that, because he's been out -- I don't know, he's been out of the game for awhile, he's been out for a little bit, but it's always tough to come back, even though you're one of the greatest of all time, it's very difficult to kind of get that sharpness back. It should take a few tournaments for him, but hopefully he gets it back pretty quickly and he can get back to, hopefully not to the old ways, but more so closer to the old ways and it would be fun to play against him when he's at his best.”
RORY McILROY: “Obviously I have sort of known that for awhile that he was trying to come back for Napa. That was his goal. I had a good chat with (Tiger’s agent) Mark Steinberg at the Open Championship and he was sort of saying that to me. So, not that surprised, obviously, but he seems to be doing better. I think he was probably pretty close to making a comeback earlier on this year, but I think he's learned from previous years that you have to really take time to let things heal and really be a hundred percent before getting back out here. So it will be great to see him back again. I think that's the big thing, to see him back on the course.”
JOHNNY MILLER (NBC golf analyst): “Silverado is the perfect course for him because it is so straightforward. There is nothing funky about it. It’s a very straightforward course, sort of his kind of course. A lot like Torrey Pines. I think he’ll love being back in California. If he can get a good first round and get some confidence. Just get some confidence and springboard from there …
Everybody is pulling for him. It is quite an amazing thing to come back from this long layoff. We better have some extra room for all of these people that are going to show up. … He is probably going to be nervous. It is going to be like a young pro just starting out on TOUR. Almost like his first career didn’t happen. I had the same thing, I went through a two-and-a-half year slump and I had to sort of get back to basics. It was very nerve wracking after not playing for a while. You just need to get back to basics. Get the ball in the fairway and get the ball on the green. I’m going to try to see him earlier in the week [at Safeway Open]. I was pretty good with my short irons and if he wants a nice lesson for showing up I’ll be happy to do it.”
NOTAY BEGAY III (NBC analyst; Woods’ former college teammate): “It’s great news. We’ve all been eagerly anticipating and hypothesizing on when and where this may happen. I think it is a well thought-out decision, it is a smart decision. I see only good things from here on out with Tiger Woods. …
I’ve seen every point through this entire rehabilitation process. I was down in Jupiter and spent some time with Tiger. We drove to pick up his kids at school just a week out from his operation. He wasn’t able to drive yet and we spent some time reflecting on just where he was at in his life and where he was at in his career and did he want to come back. Was it a certainty that he was going to have the motivation, focus, the wherewithal and the sheer will to rehab the way he knew he needed to have to rehab. When you turn 40, you feel it. Tiger’s no different. …
It has been a steady progression. He has been very diligent and smart in how he is going about it which has been different than the last few times. The last few times he has been so anxious to get back out there and start beating people and winning. It might have been a little too soon. Now I think he has given it its due course. He feels great. …
It is not going to be a straight path to success. He has been on the shelf for quite some time. Couldn’t be a better place. Northern California. Stanford country. He’s familiar with the area. Going to get a warm reception up there.”
MATT KUCHAR: "We have all been guessing when he might come back and that was a pretty typical guess but it’s still good to hear the news. We are certainly very excited to see him back. Players, fans, media, you name it we are all excited and anxious to see how he does."
BUBBA WATSON: "It’s really cool. We want him back. He changes the game. When legends of the game play it is a big deal. We saw how long Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus played for and Tiger obviously has a lot more to do and give in this game. He is still young when you look at it in terms of what other legends and great players have done. Firstly it’s just great he’s healthy and then it’s awesome he can play. It will be great to see him back out there."