By Will Starkey
In the past three days, Tiger Woods has posted two swing videos on Instagram, reigniting excitement surrounding yet another possible return to competitive golf. Many thought that Woods’ most recent surgery, in April of this year, would mean the end of his quest to reach Sam Snead’s PGA Tour record of 79 career wins.
Woods is now 41 years old, and clearly past his physical prime. A resurgence in 2013 saw him win five times, and he was credited with the highest honour on the PGA Tour; player of the year. Since 2014, Woods has had more back surgeries (4) than official top 20 finishes on the PGA Tour (3) – an ominous sign for the longevity of his career. It would be fantastic to see Tiger rekindle the flame in the twilight days of his career for one last crack at Snead’s record, and the latest swing videos are a sign that his return may be coming sooner than we think.
Here’s the first video, in slow-motion and what Woods described as a “smooth iron” swing.
And to tease us even more, today he posted footage hitting balls alongside Kevin Chappell at an exhibition for his TW Invitational outing.
This comes just a couple of weeks after he gave a very bleak interview at the Presidents Cup, saying there is “definitely” a scenario where he doesn’t return to professional golf. However, the recent swing videos have given new hope for his comeback. Tiger appears to be well on his way to recovery, but has been sure to set no specific timeline for a return. What makes this more interesting is the status of the Hero World Challenge, hosted by none other than Tiger himself in early December. The field has currently named 16 of 18 competitors, leaving two open invitations to be given out at a later date. This is the same event that Tiger made his return at last year. He finished 15th in the limited-player field, and showed a lot of promise with his second-round 65. It’s an extremely long shot, but will we see Tiger try to make yet another return to the PGA Tour? The Hero World Challenge would be a solid 4-day test to see how his body holds up, and a strong finish there could act as the slingshot he needs to compete and win again in 2018.