Tiger Woods played holes of golf on Monday for the first time since last summer.
The 14-time major winner had denied recent accounts that he has been out and about on the golf course over the last few months swinging his clubs and actually playing holes.
Tim Rosaforte of Golf Channel said last week that Woods has been “involved in a series of four-to-five-hour practice sessions at Medalist Golf Club.” Best friend and Stanford roommate Notah Begay claimed recently that Woods is on his back nine when it comes to his recovery from his third back surgery in September.
But in an interview with ESPN the golf legend said that Monday was the first holes he played of golf since competing in the Wyndham Championship in August. Tiger teed it up with buddy Mark O’Meara for a friendly five holes at Bluejack National Golf Club, the first American golf course that Woods designed.
Woods underwent his third back surgery in September with a follow up procedure in October. Woods suffered the worst season of his career in 2015 missing three of the four cuts at the major championships.
Before this year’s Masters Championship Tiger consulted with his doctors and determined forgoing the tournament would be prudent. Tiger explained, “I’ve been hitting balls and training daily, but I’m not physically ready. I’ve said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what’s best for my long-term health and career.” He added he had no timetable as to when he would return to the tour.
The 40-year-old golfer said after playing that he was tired but felt “pretty good.” He added, “I haven’t been out here playing like this. I hadn’t played any holes until today. I know people have said I’ve played holes back at Medalist, but I haven’t. This is actually the first time I’ve played holes since Wyndham. It’s been awhile.”
Tiger registered for the 116th U.S. Open at Oakmont to be played in June. Yet, although registering gives Tiger the pathway to play, it doesn’t mean he will be among the entrants. Woods collected three of his 14 majors by winning America’s national championship in 2000, 2002, and 2008.
“I haven’t set any date to when I’m playing again, which is frustrating to say,” Woods admitted to ESPN. “But to be honest with you, that’s what I’ve had to do. I’ve had to go with that mindset. … Keep improving. Keep getting better. Keep making progress. And I’m doing that.”