Tiger Woods’ comeback hopes took another blow Thursday when he announced he had undergone a successful back surgery – his fourth – to alleviate pain in his leg and back. The news came one day after Woods said his back was “progressing” and was deemed to be successful. The average recovery time from the surgery is listed at least six months.
At this point, it’s time for fans to move on from the Tiger Woods we once knew and realize that it’s extremely unlikely Tiger will ever tee it up on a regular basis going forward. Tiger will still go down as the most dominant player of all time, arguably changing the way the game was played more than any other player in golf history. His post-golf career looks promising and I feel he will have a long and prolific career in golf course design.
In the Lone Star State
While Tiger fans everywhere mourned the news, the PGA Tour carried on and through one round Branden Grace leads the Valero Texas Open. Grace used seven birdies to fire a 6-under 66 and pull one ahead of Will Mackenzie, Steven Alker, Stewart Cink and John Huh. Full scores
Grace is truly one of the world’s best players and his low ball flight should serve him well at the often-windy TPC San Antonio. Grace’s round was an incredible tee-to-green display and could have been even better had he not missed three putts inside of 5 feet. I expect Grace to hang around the top of the leaderboard as his recent play has been signaling a breakout. He’s made the cut in his last three starts, finishing T39, T27 and T11 at last week’s Heritage.
Joining the Winner’s List?
Luke List sits in a tie for sixth after a strong opening round 68 at Valero. The 32-year-old bomber is in the middle of a career season with seven top-20 finishes on Tour. Among the stack of high finishes, List has a T2 and T3 and is primed to breakout for his first career PGA Tour win. Could it be this weekend?
Ridin’ the hot hand
Fresh off a medalist performance last week at Canadian Tour Q-School, former Alabama standout Robbie Shelton fired an opening-round 68 to sit in a tie for sixth. The 22-year-old is one of the many uber-talented young players who have yet to find their place on the PGA Tour. Shelton recorded the best amateur finish on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson when he finished third at the 2015 Barbasol Championship. Shelton is a name to watch and has the game to contend over the weekend.
An average debut
Australian Curtis Luck played his first round as a professional Thursday, firing a 1-over 73 that put him in a tie for 93rd. Luck will have his work cut out for him Friday and will need to play a good round in order to make the cut. At a minimum, he’ll have the benefit of playing in the morning before the usual strong Texas winds kick up.
Trio on top
Playing at the difficult Victoria National, Abraham Ancer, Ryan Yip and Kyle Thompson lead the Web.com Tour’s United Leasing Championship. Trouble lurks at every turn at Victoria National so expect to see some drastic swings in the leaderboard over the weekend and tune in on Golf Channel to see a closing stretch of holes that produces drama year-in and year-out. Full scores
The Architect Roundtable
Mike Cocking, Thad Layton and Drew Rogers jumped in the hot seat to answer five questions about golf course architecture this week. Read who they think was the most underappreciated architect, where their favorite strategic holes are located and more here.
Bubba leads in China through one round, follow round two here.
A great Twitter discussion between Shooter McGavin and Aaron Rodgers.
Documenting Soly and Tron’s trip to England, Tron put together a great review of Royal Birkdale and an impressive array of vocabulary.