Tigers Woods’ return to the PGA Tour starting with the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California, next week “might be spectacular,” according to European golfer Jesper Parnevik.
In an interview for the November issue of Golf Digest, Parnevik said that the 14-time major champion has been “hitting a lot of balls, and he’s hitting it great. He’s pounding it a mile and flushing everything,”
Parnevik, who spent some time watching Tiger hit balls at the range and played nine holes with him at the Medalist Golf Club in Florida, said, “On the range, at least, his trajectory and ball flight are like the Tiger we knew 15 years ago. Comebacks are never a sure thing, but something tells me his might be spectacular.”
The 51-year-old Swedish golfer and Woods have patched things up since their falling out several years ago over Woods’ treatment of his former wife Elin Nordegren. Parnevik introduced Nordegren to Woods when she served as an au pair for Parnevik’s children.
Parnevik told GD that he felt betrayed by Tiger when he engaged in extra-marital affairs. “When the infidelity came to light, it felt like the worst betrayal ever,” he said. “But over time, I forgave Tiger. He and Elin are friends, which is nice, and he’s a good parent. His mistakes hurt him, too.”
Woods, who dominated golf for well over a decade commanding 683 weeks as world No 1, (now ranked 767), has not teed-it-up since August 2015, when he competed at the Wyndham Championship and finished tied for 10th place. After that, Tiger stopped playing and underwent two back surgeries. In September 2015 he had surgery to remove a disc fragment that was pinching a nerve and a month later he had a second surgery to treat a different pinched nerve in his back. Woods endured a prior back surgery in 2014 and has had multiple surgeries on his left knee starting in 2008, the year that Woods last won a major tournament.
Tiger’s former Stanford roommate and longtime friend Notah Begay said last month that he believes this will be Woods’ last attempt to come back from his injuries.
“It will be a new chapter,” said Begay, a former PGA pro who currently serves as an analyst for the Golf Channel. “Just like 1996 was the beginning, this is going to be the beginning of a new chapter for Tiger Woods, and probably his last. He understands that he’s much closer to the end of his career than the beginning and that if he has another injury and has to sustain another rehabilitation period that he might not make it back.”