15 months of waiting
This week, Tiger Woods makes his long-awaited return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Expectations for Woods’ play are across the board, with his presence alone putting the golf world in a frenzy.
While the 898th-ranked golfer in the world has dominated pre-tournament headlines, he makes his return against a small but elite 18-man field littered with big names, such as Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson and red-hot Hideki Matsuyama. Even the worst-ranked player next to Woods is world number 38, Zach Johnson.
Fueling the fire...
On Monday, Tiger Woods was hitting golf shots in front of the media, and multiple videos of his swing (link here) were posted to social media. This caused a frenzy with hundreds of self-proclaimed “swing experts” coming out of the woodwork to weigh in on Tiger’s new move. Some say he’s done, others say he’s back. Here’s my two cents:
- The swing is clearly built around protecting his back
- He isn’t clearing his left side well, which could lead to high-right misses
- I have seen guys play well with way worse swings, so I am going to hold off of any serious judgements until I see him trot this out in tournament situations
What to expect from TW
I am cautiously optimistic about Woods’ return. I don’t think that talent ever leaves a player, so the big question mark is the mental state of his game and his health. If each of those can be a shell of what it once was, he still has the goods to win on the PGA Tour.
Storylines to watch that don’t include Tiger
A rising star
Hideki Matsuyama will look for his 4th win in 5 starts this week. Matsuyama has dominated since the conclusion of the FedEx Cup, winning the Japan Open, finishing 2nd at the CIMB Classic, and winning the WGC-HSBC and the Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters. With the wins, Matsuyama has ascended to the 6th spot in the world rankings and looks primed to become one of golf’s megastars.
Spieth won his last start at the Australian Open. The last time that happened in 2014, he backed up it up with another win at the Hero Challenge, and the momentum carried through the next year for a historic 2015 season.
Can his win at the Australian Open be a precursor to another big 2017 season?
With a tiny field at the Hero, we had to call in Paulie for a little strategy session and a few picks to click. Check ‘em out.
A buddies trip destination: Forest Dunes Golf Club
This summer, I trekked up to Roscommon Michigan to check out Forest Dunes Golf Club and their new course, The Loop, a revolutionary design by Tom Doak and the United States’ first reversible golf course. Check out what I thought about the resort and each course here.
No rest for the weary
The European Tour enjoyed a nice one-week offseason during last week’s World Cup of Golf before kicking off their new season with not one, but two events! In Australia, The European Tour will be hosting the 111th Australian PGA Championship. The Aussie-dominated field will be headlined by Australian great Adam Scott and fan-favorite Ian Poulter.
The 2nd Euro tournament is the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa. Much like the Australian PGA, the Dunhill’s field is headlined by some natives, with Charl Schwartzel, who’s looking for his 5th Dunhill title, and world number 16 Brendan Grace the biggest names in the field.
Vince India Podcast
With the Web.com Tour Q-School next week, we caught up with Vince India for our latest podcast. Listen in here as he talks about life as a professional golfer and tells some wild tales from the Latin American Tour.
Soly hosts American superstar Jordan Spieth on the latest NLU podcast, where Spieth tells all about playing with Patrick Reed in the Ryder Cup, his new equipment for 2017, and his meteoric rise to stardom. Listen here.
Nothing beats a good t-shirt, so snag the classic No Laying Up t-shirt for a new go-to lounge shirt on the weekends.