Tiger Woods looking to claw back the glory days

2015-01-18 15:00

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Tiger Woods, whether deliberately or not, has indicated his intention to rehabilitate his waning career.

The man who dominated his chosen sport before being tripped up by personal problems and a succession of serious injuries, has announced that he will begin his 2015 PGA tour season at the Phoenix open from January 29 to February 1.

Woods last played an official PGA tour event at the PGA championship in August 2014, where he missed the cut.

After several months away, due to back surgery, Woods returned to play the Hero World Challenge in early December, where he tied for last place in the 17-man field.

It has been speculated that Woods, once tipped to be a shoo-in to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors, is washed up and will remain stuck on 14.

But a number of his peers believe he can rise from the ashes.

Woods last participated in the Phoenix open in 2001.

In three starts in the desert tournament, he has had two top five finishes – although his presence will always be associated with the fantastic hole-in-one he made at the famous 16th hole.

As a rookie in 1997, Woods scored a perfect fluke to send the huge crowd that surrounded the 16th hole at the Scottsdale, Arizona course – described as the “rowdiest hole in golf” – into foot-stomping pandemonium.

Significantly, Woods has also confirmed that he will play in the Farmers insurance open at his happy hunting ground of Torrey Pines in San Diego.

Woods has eight career wins on the course in La Jolla, California – including the 2008 United States open when he beat Rocco Mediate in a play-off.

“Torrey is a very important place to me,” said Woods on his website.

“My pop [the late Earl] took me there when I was younger, and I have a lot of special memories of watching the tour [when the tournament was known as the Buick open] play there when I was growing up.”

Woods, who turned 39 on December 30, has not won a major since that US open in 2008 and, apart from his many injuries, has reached an age when the level of performance of top golfers starts to tail off.

Only a handful have won majors after their 40th birthday and in an effort to rekindle the magic, Woods has linked up with yet another swing coach.

Chris Como is the man charged with helping the Tiger to shine bright again and, interestingly, has studied videotapes of the unencumbered approach Woods had in his amateur days to help him regenerate the power off the tee he had as a younger man.

European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley is one of those who believes that Woods can again be a winner, noting that while he struggled in the Hero World Challenge, the distance he was driving the ball had returned.

Woods has a way of polarising fans, but with Rory McIlroy now unquestionably the world’s number one, there are many hoping that it will be Tiger who will hunt him down.

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