SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — I’ve looked all over the TPC Scottsdale and can’t find Bill Belichick anywhere. Oh well, might as well stay here.
I’m taking a day off from mid-week, Super Bowl minutiae to cover Tiger Woods’ first event since he finished tied for last (18th) in his own invitational tournament in December (the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth) and his first PGA Tour event since missing the cut at the PGA Championship last August.
When Woods announced he would play in this week’s Phoenix Open, he sent out this Tweet, a reminder of his hole-in-one in this tournament in 1997.
Woods’ body has been breaking down. He played in only seven Tour events in 2014, missing the cut twice and failing to finish higher than 25th. He did not compete in the U.S. Open or the Masters and underwent microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that he said, “has been hurting him for several months.”
If that’s not enough, Woods showed up at a ski event for girlfriend Lindsey Vonn in Italy missing a front, causing the internet to melt down with speculation about what happened. Woods explanation this week: He got hit the mouth by a cameraman. From Woods at his Tuesday news conference:
“I was looking down, and all the camera guys are below me on their knees or moving all around, trying to get a picture because she’s hugging people, saying congratulations to the other racers as they are coming down. Some already finished, some are there already in the changing area. … Dude with a video camera on his shoulder, right in front of me, kneeling, stood up and turned and caught me square on the mouth. He chipped that one, cracked the other one. … And so then, you know, I’m trying to keep this thing so the blood is not all over the place, and luckily he hit the one I had the root canal on. That’s the one that chipped. But the other one had to be fixed, as well, because it had cracks all through it.”
If Woods can’t get back to a competitive form, it won’t be because of his teeth. It will be because his back, knees and shoulders just can’t drive the ball with the power they used to and he can’t hold up over four rounds.
Is he pretty much done? We’ll find out, starting today. The Masters is just over two months away. Woods has been stuck on 14 major victories, four behind Jack Nicklaus, since the 2008 U.S. Open.
What kind of Tiger Woods will we see in 2015?• A recent writer’s dozen from the digital jukebox
— MyAJC: LeGarrette Blount walked out on team — and straight to Super Bowl — AJC: Georgia’s Lockette playing for third straight Super Bowl team — MyAJC: Dan Quinn says he’s ready for next challenge (with Falcons) — AJC: Lynch goes into interview Beast Mode again (surprise!) — MyAJC: Great or not, Patriots’ legacy is forever tarnished — AJC: Seattle players say Quinn will be ‘great head coach’ for Falcons — AJC: Brady says ‘feelings got hurt’ by accusations (really?) — MyAJC: Hawks are closest team to rare Atlanta sports title — AJC: Matt Ryan doesn’t believe deflating footballs is the norm — MyAJC: Al Horford finally past injuries and frustration with Hawks — AJC: Stall, lie, cheat — it’s the Patriots’ way, and perfectly timed — AJC: DeflateGate: It’s time for NFL to forfeit games for cheaters — MyAJC: Walsh-Montana still top Belichick-Brady on coach-QB mountain — AJC: Seattle’s Super Bowl only delays Falcons’ hiring of Dan Quinn — AJC: Oddsmaker says Braves’ win total will be ‘low 70s’ (with reader poll) — MyAJC: Braves’ moves carry Coppolella’s fingerprints — AJC: There goes Evan Gattis as Braves take another big hit — AJC: Quinn was tabbed as ‘Next Great Coach’ but can Falcons get him? — AJC: UPDATE: Bowles goes to Jets but if Falcons get Quinn it won’t matter — AJC: Falcons should talk to John Fox before making decision on Quinn, Bowles — AJC: Rex Ryan going to Buffalo — and that’s not bad news for Falcons — AJC: Nick Saban, the mercenary, takes on ex-Bulldog Jonathan Taylor