Tiger Woods is back hitting golf balls at the range and, according to his agent, Mark Steinberg, “He’s feeling pretty good.”
Tiger’s March 31 surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back derailed his journey to topple Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 career Major victories. Yet, Steinberg told USA Today on Monday, “The doctors said he could hit golf balls again, and he’s listening to his doctors and to his body.”
After coming off a banner year in 2013, when Tiger won five tournaments and was the PGA Tour player of the Year, 2014 proved to be a disaster as he plummeted from the number-one golfer in the world to his present Official World Golf Ranking of 17. The uncharacteristic year for Tiger rendered a tie for 25th in the WGC-Cadillac Championship as his best showing.
Woods, who has 79 PGA Tour wins and 14 major championships, made a paltry seven PGA Tour starts in 2014, only making it to Sunday three times–he missed two cuts and had to withdraw twice.
According to Golf Week, Woods said last month, “I want to be back where I used to be.”
In order to return to where he use to be, Tiger decided to fire swing coach Sean Foley and has yet to name a replacement. Perhaps he should summon the help of former coach Butch Harmon who helped Tiger with his early success on the Tour. Harmon has been helping Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson and two of the hottest golfers on tour, Ricky Fowler and Jimmy Walker.
However, SB Nation reported in August that Harmon wouldn’t be interested in coaching Tiger. Harmon did say that Woods didn’t really need a coach. “I don’t think he needs a swing coach…. If I were advising Tiger I’d tell him, ‘you’re the greatest player that ever lived, just go to the range and hit shots.’ Only he knows what his body can and can’t do. In this day and age you can get all the technical coaching you need with TrackMan. He’s good enough to do it himself.”
USA Today predicts that Dec. 4-7 at the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth in Orlando, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, will be the likely venue for arguably the greatest golfer who ever played the game to resume his mission to overcome Nicklaus.