Tiger Returns This Week

From ESPN.com:

“Not being able to get out of bed, not being able to move, how can I expect to come out here and swing a golf club at 120 miles an hour and be ballistic when I can’t even get out of bed? So, yeah, there was a lot of trepidation and times where I thought … was it realistic?”

“When I had my knee redone and it was completely blown, I knew it was nine months, but I knew I could come back from it. It’s not nerve damage. When you’re dealing with a spine, when you’re dealing with nerves, it’s a totally different deal.”

“I’m not dead,” Tiger quipped as he arrived in the Bahamas on Saturday and played nine holes, then spent some two-and-half hours Sunday on the driving range and in a testing center using TrackMan to gauge various distances and launch angles — a process he said is more daunting now that his longtime sponsor, Nike, is no longer making golf clubs…

“The most important thing is the ball,” he said. “Once you find a ball, then you can work around everything else. The ball is No. 1. The most important club in the bag is the ball.” (he dropped a bit of news when he said he’s using a Bridgestone golf ball this week.)

“But I’m nervous for every tournament I play in, whether it’s after a layoff, or six in a row, or a major,” he said. “I care. If I care, I’m nervous. And it’s good to be that way. To have that nervous energy and channel it into aggression, into focus, concentration, that’s good stuff. If I wasn’t nervous, that would mean I didn’t care. I don’t want to be out there flat.”

Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, who was walking the Albany course on Sunday, twice went to Florida to work with Woods since the Safeway withdrawal, mostly to get Woods in tournament mode and off a golf cart. His instructor, Chris Como, has also been there. Two weeks ago, Woods and LaCava played rounds on four consecutive days, walking — which seems simple enough until Woods explains he had not been doing that enough.

“It’s weird to say, but I have to get my walking legs,” he said. “It’s a 5-mile walk. You forget what it feels like to be in golf shoes versus tennis shoes. To be on an uneven lie versus a flat lie. I can walk for two or three hours on a treadmill and it’s not the same as walking on a golf course. It’s so different, the standing around (between shots).

“The rhythm of playing in a golf cart versus walking and playing. I had forgotten that because I had been away for over a year. Joey really helped me … normal tournament talk, I had to get used to that again.”