Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf last weekend but do we totally know what that means? Hank Haney has a few thoughts in Golf Digest.
"I know people were excited to hear that he was back hitting balls, but hitting balls isn't the same as practicing."
Fair enough. What was more interesting is what Haney said about the fire Woods has these days. Haney told Golf Digest he doesn't think Woods practices as much as he used to, injury or not.
"[In 2005] He'd get up in the morning and do a full workout, and then practice from nine in the morning to about six at night, with 45 minutes for lunch," says Haney. "Four hours of hitting balls and four hours of playing. Every day."
"A lot of athletes continue to have a lot of drive. I mean, you can't question Peyton Manning's drive," says Haney. "But I saw Tiger's drive diminish as early as 2006," said Haney.
"That's speculation and observation, but you can't deny that he doesn't practice as much. It could be because of his kids. It could be because of injuries. It doesn't matter what the because is. It's reality. The question is what happens now."
I don't really think that's shots fired because Woods himself bascially admits as much. After missing the cut by seven shots at Congressional Woods said he was off to vacation with his kids.
"Well, I'm going to take my kids on a nice little vacation, which will be nice, next week, and start gearing up," said Woods.
Geoff Shackelford had a really fascinating take, as well. I want to quote the whole thing because I think it matters.
"To be feeling better and have the major he could so easily win because of his creativity, ability to handle the wind and epic performance there last time and not to be taking it seriously suggests Tiger just doesn't quite care like he used to. He loves his adorable kids, loves his yacht and it's summertime! What's not to love if you're him? Oh right, practicing and preparing for links golf. "
Remember, he's been on the national stage nearly 20 years now and there's only so long the fire can burn. I don't begrudge him. He gave us many great years and he'll have a few more runs in him, but to be supposedly feeling great and to go on vacation after his Congressional play suggests he just doesn't care like he used to. Doesn't make him a bad person, it just mean's he's not the Tiger we used to know.
It definitely doesn't make him a bad dude but it does mean everyone needs to realize that 2005 and pre-2005 Tiger isn't ever coming back.