There is no athlete on the planet that draws more media attention even when he is not playing. Just the mere hint of Tiger saying he “hopes” to return to the PGA Tour this year draws a media frenzy. That frenzy has now trickled down to the top players in the world that are currently playing, including the beloved Phil Mickelson.
Tiger said that if he returns, he would like to make his debut at the 2016-2017 season opener, The Safeway Open. At the moment, Mickelson is the headliner of the tournament. However, Mickelson noted that a “certain somebody” hoped to play in the event, and expressed his desire for Woods to return. Mickelson also appeared to lobby for a pairing between him and Woods at the tournament. Mickelson stated, “I’m hoping we can get paired together, that would be really fun.” Tiger will work as an assistant captain at this year’s Ryder Cup in Hazeltine.
Tiger has been on the sidelines for more than a year due to recurring back problems. The 14-time major champion and winner of 79 official PGA Tour events hopes to make one notable and final comeback. However, several top players on the tour made it clear that it will take time for Woods to play well enough to compete. The number four ranked player in the world, Rory McIlroy, stated that many people will expect him to go out and play well, but that will take time, and Tiger is probably looking at the big picture.
It is no secret that Tiger would like to catch Jack Nicklaus for the all-time record of most major championships won, which stands at 18 (not including Nicklaus’s two U.S. amateur championship victories). However, many golfing aficionados wonder whether father time has caught up with Woods and that window has closed. After the 2009 sexual scandal that rocked Woods and the game of golf, he proved that after a long layoff he could recapture some of his old glory by reclaiming the number one spot in the world rankings a year later. Although Woods has not won a major since 2008, there is no denying that it is hard to bet against Tiger.
There is no doubt that the game of golf needs Tiger Woods. Even at his worst, even as an average player, he is still better than the majority of pro golfers on the PGA Tour today. There is an aura that surrounds Tiger Woods, a presence that he brings to golf that is unmatched since the days of Jack Nicklaus. The majority of golfing fans either loves Tiger Woods or they hate him. One thing is for sure, the man draws a crowd wherever he goes, and he continues to garner the attention of the top players in the world.