JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY | Is this – being a captain’s assistant on the U.S. Presidents Cup team like he was in the Ryder Cup last fall – the future for Tiger Woods?
It’s too soon to know, at least in terms of what Woods said Wednesday at Liberty National on the eve of the biennial competition.
The good news from the golf side: He’s hitting 60-yard shots now, five months after his fourth back surgery.
Dr. gave me the ok to start pitching pic.twitter.com/tboq1L3Xdn
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) August 31, 2017
“I’m hitting it really straight,” Woods deadpanned.
The not-so-good news: He acknowledged the possibility he might never return to competitive golf.
“I don’t know what my future holds for me,” Woods said.
Right now, Woods is happy to be back in the mix, pain-free after spinal fusion surgery in April and contributing what he can to the American team captained by Steve Stricker. Now 41, Woods has morphed into the role of mentor, at least until he can resume his playing career.
Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler are among the young players who have gone to Woods’ South Florida home to work with him in his short-game area while building a relationship with the 14-time major champion who played the bulk of his Tour golf before they arrived on the scene.
Woods said he is optimistic about his recovery from the most significant of his four back surgeries but reiterated what he said in a post on his website recently – the timetable for his potential return is up to his surgeon, not him.
“I’m very optimistic,” Woods said.
He joked that he’s been away from competitive golf for so long, he had to familiarize himself again with rye grass and bent grass, having grown accustomed to the Bermuda grass in Florida.
“The pain’s gone, but I don’t know what my golfing body is going to be like, because I haven’t hit a golf shot yet,” Woods said. “So that’s going to take time to figure that out and figure out what my capabilities are going forward, and there’s no rush.”
During the news conference with the other captain’s assistants from both teams, Woods said there was a time when he doubted he could handle the role he has, because riding in a golf cart was too painful.