Tiger Woods back to where his grand revival began
When he played at the 2017 Hero World Challenge here at the Ernie Els-designed Albany Golf Course following a seven-month lay-off after spinal fusion surgery, he was ranked 1199 in the world.Updated: Nov 28, 2018 10:40 IST
Tiger Woods is back on the greens of the same course where he pressed the restart button of his stuttering career a year ago.
When he played at the 2017 Hero World Challenge here at the Ernie Els-designed Albany Golf Course following a seven-month lay-off after spinal fusion surgery, he was ranked 1199 in the world.
On Tuesday, as Hero MotoCorp chairman Pawan Munjal announced the extension of the company’s association with the tournament and Woods for the next four years, his world ranking stands at 13 – a jump of 1186 places in 12 months. It comes on the back of his 80th PGA Tour title win at the Tour Championship and close calls at both The Open and PGA Championship.
Last year at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament where Woods plays the dual role of a competitor and host, the 42-year-old was paired with current world No 4, American Justin Thomas. This time too, Woods will tee-off on Thursday alongside the 25-year-old former world No 1 and hope to improve on his tied-9th finish in the 18-player invitational event knowing well that a win here could catapult him to 6th in the world, a ranking the 14-time Major winner hasn’t achieved since June, 2014.
It will be easier said than done. The field this time is arguably the strongest since Woods started this tournament in 2000 to benefit his charity foundation.
“It’s an elite field. Players love to come here because Albany is beautiful, laid back. The golf just adds to the settings. So hopefully, we will have an exciting four days,” Woods, who is suffering from a bout of cough and cold, told reporters on Tuesday.
Four of the world’s current top five, six of the current top 10 including defending champion Rickie Fowler --- who is 9th now --- and world No 2 Justin Rose, the highest ranked here who knows a strong finish can get him to the top supplanting Brooks Koepka, world No 3 Dustin Johnson are all in the mix with Gary Woodland (world No 32) back-marking the field.
WOODS IN INDIA AGAIN
There is a possibility that Woods could play in India again sometime soon like he did in February 2014. “It’s definitely on the cards,” said Woods before the start of a media interaction here on Tuesday. “The association with Hero has been a win-win situation for both of us and I am elated,” Woods added.