Blog Entry

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

Posted on: July 28, 2011 8:38 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2011 3:20 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. -- As ever, Tiger Woods is keeping ‘em guessing.

Despite the fact that he hasn’t worked with his swing coach in two months, Woods said Thursday night that he will play next week at the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, where he has seven wins.

It stands to reason that he’ll play the following week, too, at the season’s final major, the PGA Championship in suburban Atlanta. The host PGA of America confirmed Friday that Woods has committed to play.

"I'm excited to get back out there," Woods said on his website.

Nobody has a clue what to expect, frankly.

Quite possibly including Woods himself.

Woods hasn’t completed 18 holes since the Masters, when he injured a ligament in his left knee and aggravated an Achilles problem in the same leg. He quit after nine holes at the Players Championship in mid-May, after tweaking the same two injuries.

The last time he played at Firestone, he had his worst four-round finish as a professional, finishing second-to last in the field. A week later, he began working with Orlando swing coach Sean Foley and began a complete overhaul of his swing, the results of which remain decidedly mixed.

Woods' website said Thursday night: "Following the advice of his doctors, Woods has rested and rehabbed his left leg, and just recently began hitting practice balls."

However, Foley said Tuesday told and the Golf Channel that he hasn’t worked with Woods on the practice range in weeks and had no idea when he planned to return to the tour. With the announcement, the two are set to practice together Friday, where there's certainly much work to be done and rust to shake off.

Woods, now spending much of his time in Jupiter, Fla., has a backyard practice area with several short holes, so it stands to reason that he’s been practicing on his own. Woods hasn’t won on the PGA Tour in 22 months, easily the longest drought of his career, and this week dropped to No. 21 in the world, his lowest ranking since his first full season as a pro in 1997.

That’s not all that’s in transition, if not upheaval. Last week he fired Steve Williams, his loyal caddie and point man for the past 12 years, and according to the Golf Channel, will use boyhood friend and employee Bryon Bell on the bag next week at Firestone. Bell caddied for Woods at the Disney World event almost a decade ago and the two have been friends since junior high and played on the same prep golf team together in Southern California.

Bell, who was directly linked to the never-ending Woods sex scandal by online news reports, is now the head of Woods’ near-dormant golf-course design firm, so he’s likely got plenty of spare time.

Woods hasn’t hit a shot since May 12, when he shot 42 on the front nine of the first round at TPC Sawgrass and walked off the course. Over the past few weeks, Woods insisted that this time, he would not return until his leg had fully healed. Doctors have green-lighted Woods to play, agent Mark Steinberg said.

"Cleared and ready to play next week," Steinberg said in an email Thursday night. "Sean is his coach and no changes."

After years of defying medical advice and causing even more wear and tear on a knee that has seen four surgeries, the 35-year-old decided to take a more prudent tack. As a result, he’s only played in six PGA Tour events this year tournaments. He has played 21 official rounds globally, including a first-round loss at the Accenture Match Play.

What happens next? At this point, it’s hard to say.

Firestone is a hilly track and Woods hurt himself hitting fairly routine golf shots from moderately flat terrain at Augusta National and Sawgrass.

“Feeling fit and ready to tee it up at Firestone next week,” Woods tweeted. “Excited to get back out there!”

With an exclamation point, mind you.

It was now or never, for all practical porposes, as it related to the 2011 season.

Had he not played next week, or at the PGA Championship, his season likely would have been over. He is ranked 133rd in FedEx Cup points and only the top 125 advance to the four FedEx series events, which start two weeks after the PGA.

Unless he moves up the points list over the next two weeks, he won’t be eligible to play in any of the four, including the third leg in the series, the BMW Championship, where he won his last PGA Tour title in September, 2009, a few weeks before his career-derailing scandal began.

Woods finished a distant T29 at the PGA Championship in 2001, the last time it was played at Atlanta Athletic Club. He actually committed to play the season's final major three weeks ago, a PGA of America official said Friday. The commitment deadline for the PGA was July 7.

Category: Golf

Since: Feb 3, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2011 8:28 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

I have a feeling Tiger has decided to forego swing advice. He did pretty good with his original swing when he started playing golf. Tiger is a pretty intelligent guy and has probably figures no one knows than him about his swing. His problems started when. some how,  it was decided to completely change it, It will make for some interesting viewing next week. 

Since: Jul 29, 2011
Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:57 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

Tiger might want to forget he even owns a driver.  After age 40, Nicklaus did his best work with his three-wood and on-iron off the tee.  Whatever gets you into the fairway.

Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:38 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all


Since: Dec 8, 2006
Posted on: July 29, 2011 5:36 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

Seriously people....Tiger is one of the best ever, period.  You can bash him all you want, but are you without faults?  He will come back and prove all of you naysayers wrong.  GO TIGER!

Since: Oct 1, 2007
Posted on: July 29, 2011 4:07 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

Tiger is washed up.

1.  Jack Nicklaus  18 majors
2.  Tiger Woods   14 majors

You gave it a heck of a try Tiger, but sorry, you're #2.

That is very lame at best.  I could see Tiger getting at least 2 more majors by the time he's 40. Besides he's all ready a shoe in for the Hall of Fame, so why jump to those conclusions?  I do believe Jack's record is safe for now because of all of the injuries, but no way is Tiger done.  He just needs to putt better and make a higher % of fairway hits to make a serious run at 19.

Since: Dec 5, 2009
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:58 pm

avacado boy

Hey avacodo boy it took jack 24 years to win 18 it took tiger 11 years to win his 14. with 3 more tour victories he'll pass jack in total victories
So wait and write your silly little message in 13 years . then we'll c who's NUMBER 2 as u put it 

Since: May 25, 2011
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:29 pm

Why all of the anger still???

He plays great... he plays like crap... who really cares?  If he is seriously contending on the weekend, he boosts ratings which is good for golf.  If he blows up on the course, his journey continues.  

Sure, this guy is a mess and has handled his personal decisions and comeback poorly from an bahavior and image management standpoint.  We all know that....  

But why all the haters and anger?? 

Since: Aug 1, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:23 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

More Tiger blashing from Elling.. Click on the link for a real article


Since: Aug 4, 2008
Posted on: July 29, 2011 2:03 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

I for one would be pleased to see Tiger back on the golf course and be as dominate as he once was. Like some that have posted before me, I had thought he would sit the rest of the year and come back after all the injuries had healed and was mentally over his personal ordeal.

I wish him luck in this tournament.   


Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: July 29, 2011 1:08 pm

Woods ambles back at Firestone after all

Tiger is washed up.

1.  Jack Nicklaus  18 majors
2.  Tiger Woods   14 majors

You gave it a heck of a try Tiger, but sorry, you're #2. 

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