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Six months without Tiger Woods? For golf fans, that’s an eternity

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The last time we heard directly from Tiger Woods was a half-year ago, during the CBS broadcast of the Genesis Invitational, aka the L.A. Open, the venerable Tour stop at the Riviera Country Club. As it happens, Riviera is one of the few landmark Tour courses where Woods has not won.

 

 

When Tiger last spoke in public, it was on a Sunday afternoon but Woods, a month removed from his most recent back surgery, his fifth, wasn’t wearing his customary red Sunday shirt. He wears red on game-day Sundays. On this Sunday, he was a spectator and host and he was dressed in black.

 

 

On a still, sunny Los Angeles afternoon, Woods was wearing a black hat, a black or dark shirt and a black vest. He had, courtesy of CBS, a black headset on his ears, and a little black microphone suspended in front of his mouth, carefully placed to get his words out to the world. With Tiger, every word counts.

 

 

All the while, a TV camera was trained on him — on his face, and, most especially, on his eyes. He looked tired. Having a network lens pointed at you like that, capturing your every move, would be nerve-wracking for most of us, but for Woods it’s all he knows, really. Few lives have been more photographed — more documented, more public — than his.

 

 

We’re so accustomed to seeing Tiger, those of us in the slipstream of the game, that it becomes easy to forget an essential fact about him: He’s one of the most famous people in the world. Such fame comes at a cost. Fame doesn’t care if you’re a prince or a movie star or an athlete, it demands to be paid at regular intervals. As for Tiger, he’s in our lives. Did we really just go a half-year without hearing his voice, without seeing him do something live and unscripted? We did though it almost doesn’t seem possible.

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Woods earned his place in our lives through the shots he played with the red light on, typically on Sundays. That gave him a certain level of wealth, a certain level of fame. But he multiplied his wealth and fame immeasurably by way of course openings, celebrity events, exhibitions, clinics, press conferences, autograph sessions, TV appearances, charity events, world travel, to say nothing of the many global advertising campaigns in which he starred.

 

 

Six months, no live Tiger. As a Tiger absence as a pro, it’s some sort of odd record. Anybody would understand why he would be desperate for a sabbatical, for a break, to get off the treadmill. But the sabbatical he got, of course, was not the one he wanted. We can only imagine the pain, the pain of every sort. We all know about his single-vehicle car crash, the one that could have taken his life. It came a day and a half after his last live public appearance, on that Sunday afternoon, at Riviera, courtesy of CBS.

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Golf

Tiger Woods has shocking revelation about his car crash

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Tiger Woods suffered serious injuries when he was involved in a single-car accident earlier this year, and the 15-time major champion confirmed on Tuesday that he is fortunate he did not lose a limb.

Tiger spoke with the media for the first time since the crash ahead of the Hero World Challenge, which is a tournament he hosts. He was asked by a reporter how close he was to losing a leg, and he said amputation was “on the table” at one point.

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Woods suffered severe fractures to his lower-left leg. There were questions about whether he would ever walk again, let alone play golf. Tiger said he feels fortunate to be alive and still have both of his legs.

Tiger shed some light on his comeback plans during an in-depth interview this week. What he said makes even more sense now that we know he nearly lost a leg.

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Wall-to-Wall Equipment: How a 2016 Tiger interview netted Charlie Woods a special Scotty Cameron putter

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This one’s for you, kid
By this point, you’ve probably heard the story, but it bears repeating if you don’t follow Tiger Woods’ every move in the equipment space.

In the days leading up to the 2016 Hero World Challenge, the 15-time major winner was discussing his putter studio, when the conversation shifted to his putter collection. More specifically, the putters a young Charlie Woods was allowed to roll putts with in the home studio.

“Charlie knows there are two putters he can’t touch,” Woods said. “There’s the black one I won with the Teryllium insert. I won the Masters in ’97 with it and this Scotty Cameron. They sit next to each other. Touch any other putter, do anything you want with any other putter. But these putters are off-limits.”

In other words: Sorry, Charlie.

Scotty Cameron still recalls Woods’ answer to the question — and what he did next for Charlie.

“The next day, I went to the shop and created a putter for Charlie,” Cameron told GOLF.com during a recent putter chat. “On the sole, I stamped: By Scotty, Made Only for Charlie.”

Cameron confirmed it was not the putter Charlie used just last month at the PNC Championship, but a production model with his name stamped on the head. Even still, the putter represented three generations of Woods who’ve used his putters going back to when Tiger put one in play for the first time in the mid 90s.

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“I turned 60 this year, which blows my mind,” Cameron said. “In addition to Tiger, I remember making putters for Earl. [Tiger] and I would be hanging out in the shop, and he’d ask me if I could make a putter for ‘Pops.’ That’s now three generations of the Woods family.”

According to Cameron, he had no idea Charlie was going to show up with one of his putters until early in the week at the PNC Championship when he received confirmation from his Tour team that the youngster was carrying a backup version of Tiger’s famed Newport 2 GSS.

“I asked them if it was the putter we made for Charlie, and they confimed it was one of Tiger’s backups,” Cameron said.

From there, Cameron’s Tour team took the putter to the truck, where it was cut down to Charlie’s length and a new grip was added. Slight modifications were also made to the head to make it feel heavier due to the shorter length.

“You don’t hand down irons, wedges or drivers — but you do hand down putters,” said Cameron. “For that to happen naturally — it wasn’t forced — was so cool.”

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Tiger Woods reflects on ‘dark’ journey back from life-threatening car crash

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Tiger Woods held his first press conference on Tuesday since his horrific car crash in Los Angeles in February this year.

Tiger Woods has recalled the “dark moments” that followed his horror car crash that could have ended his life. The golf legend suffered extensive leg injuries after his car careered off the road at around 87mph in February in Los Angeles.

The 15-time major champion was extricated from the horrific wreckage by police and firefighters and remained in hospital until early April.

It has been a long road back for Woods, recovering from breaks to his right leg and further injuries to both his foot and ankle.

Woods sent fans wild last week when he posted a short clip of him on a course practicing.

Following that social media clip, the 45-year-old held his first press conference since February’s car crash on Tuesday and reflected on his journey to get back into a position where he can play golf again – which is remarkable considering he admitted he was “lucky to be alive.”

Woods even feared that his right leg could have been amputated, saying during the press conference: “It was on the table. I’m lucky to be alive but also still have the limb. Those are two crucial things.

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“I’m very grateful that someone upstairs was taking care of me, that I’m able to not only be here but also to walk without a prosthesis.”

“This one has been much more difficult,” he added as he compared his rehabilitation to the recovery from back surgery a few years ago.

“The knee stuff was one level, the back fusion another level, this one with the right leg another level.

“From wheelchair to crutches to now nothing, it’s been a lot of hard work. There were some really tough times. I am on the better side of it but still have a long way to go.”

Then when pressed further on how difficult his recovery has been, he explained: “Just laying there. I was in a hospital bed for three months.

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