airmax online Why do we care so much about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge

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So, really, why do we care about Tiger?play

Tiger responds to Thomas smack talk (0:52)As Tiger Woods is set to make his comeback to professional golf, he responds with a little smack talk of his own to his playing partner Justin Thomas. (0:52)FacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailprintcommentNASSAU, Bahamas He is about to turn 42 and has been playing high level tournament golf for more than 30 years. He’s hit thousands upon thousands of golf balls, and though he competes in a noncontact sport, even Tiger Woods concedes that “there are certain areas of my body that are just worn out.”

And so it is for some that there is fatigue when it comes to yet another comeback, the latest return being last week at the Hero World Challenge.

It was there a year ago at Albany Golf Club that a similar return unfolded, only to be derailed just a few months later with Woods withdrawing from a tournament in the Middle East. A fourth back surgery ensued, and here we are again.

Last year’s tournament produced television ratings on Golf Channel that were 190 percent higher than the previous year’s first round. It was the most watched opening round of any tournament on the network since The Open. Similar gains were reported on NBC over that weekend, even though Woods drifted out of contention.

And fans were breathless when Woods who had spinal fusion surgery in April and could not take full swings for six months posted a video in October and November of himself hitting full shots, his return going better than expected.

The reality is, however, stark: More than two years have passed since Woods posted a top 10, more than four years since he celebrated his last victory and going on 10 years since he last held up a major championship trophy.

In the meantime, a talented, eager and younger group of players has emerged. Jordan Spieth has won three majors since the first of Woods’ back surgeries and Rory McIlroy two (and four overall). Justin Thomas won six times in 2017 including a major championship. Open and is a solid No. 1 in the world (and the only player who has won more times than Woods since 2009). Open, and even Woods’ old nemesis Sergio Garcia who is four years younger won the Masters.

Editor’s PicksDifferent vibe in Tiger’s latest comebackThe full accounting of Tiger’s appearance this week at the Hero World Challenge shouldn’t be made until well into the future, but there are already hints that this return is unlike the others.

Tiger: ‘Loving life’ after DUI, dealing with painTiger Woods, attempting another comeback at the Hero World Challenge this week, said Tuesday he was “trying to go away from the pain” at the time of his DUI arrest in May, when he was found asleep at the wheel of his car.

Tiger hype understandable, but not sustainableUntil Tiger Woods can recalibrate his expectations and the same goes for us fans don’t expect anything to change this week at the Hero World Challenge.

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Why do we care about Tiger?

“It’s just to see him,” said Sean Foley, one of Woods’ former instructors. “Why do so many people go watch Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit one ball off the tee at Augusta? I do it every year. I’ve done it like eight times. It’s just because it’s a part of history and so incredible to see.”

Woods is less likely to make history these days, his recent career having been a tattered mess of injuries, withdrawals,
airmax online Why do we care so much about Tiger Woods' return at the Hero World Challenge
chip yips, stage fright and comebacks dating to his first back surgery in 2014.

Since then, Woods has played just 19 worldwide tournaments. He’s had a single top 10. The last time he played a competitive round, it was a 77 with no birdies in Dubai, almost 10 months ago to the day.

And yet, when Woods is healthy, it is still a sight to behold, a sound to be heard, when he strikes a golf ball.

Why do we care about Tiger?

“It’s the same reason that when Michael Jordan came back to play basketball,” said Thomas, who will play with Woods in competition for the first time during the Hero. “When you’re one of the greatest of all time to play your sport and just do things that people can’t and haven’t done before and you just have such a huge fan base.

“It’s funny, I’m sitting here talking about it. This event wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. If he hadn’t done everything he’s done, we wouldn’t have the sponsors we have. We wouldn’t be playing for the amount of money that we’re playing for if it wasn’t for him.

“Nobody moves the needle like him, even now.”

Woods might have endured years of lackluster golf, but his name still packs a powerful punch. He remains among the top endorsers in the game, representing the likes of Nike, TaylorMade, Bridgestone, Hero, Rolex, Monster Energy and Kowa, and his golf course design business is beginning to get traction, with several courses in the works.

Even without playing, Woods ranked fourth on Golf Digest’s annual list of the top paid players in the game, with more than $36 million in off the course earnings, according to the magazine. He trailed only Spieth, the late Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson. He was ranked third a year ago and topped the list for years.

It’s been more than two years since Tiger Woods has posted a top 10, more than four years since he celebrated his last victory and going on 10 years since he last held up a major championship trophy. But his fans are still as loyal as ever. Kyle Terada USA TODAY SportsWhy do we care about Tiger?
airmax online Why do we care so much about Tiger Woods' return at the Hero World Challenge

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