Over the years, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan have rightfully earned their spot as two of the most popular athletes in the world. Even though recognized as the greatest NBA player of all time, Jordan is also known by many as an ardent golf fan. Notably, the two icons have also known each other for years, coming together over their mutual love for golf.
That being said, Jordan, now 58, retired from basketball in 2003. Woods, who started playing in the 90s, has played on the PGA Tour for over two decades. However, after his recent car crash in February, Woods’ return to the course remains doubtful.
While the 45-year-old has been hinting at a return soon, one question has been plaguing everyone’s mind- will the PGA Tour icon return to his glory days?
Michael Jordan on Tiger Woods and his future in golf
If you look at a rough timeline, Jordan and Woods have been friends for over a decade. While they might not meet and talk daily, there is a certain understanding between the two. Jordan, who has been retired for years, is probably among the few who can understand what exactly Woods has been going through recently.
“I don’t know if he’s happy about that or sad about that,” Jordan said, wondering if Woods is tired. “I think he really wishes he could retire, but he doesn’t know how to do it yet”. The six-time NBA champion added that he does not believe Woods wants to leave just yet but might do so if he could win a major and walk away.
It’s quite understandable that after being dominant for years, Woods might have trouble adjusting to the idea of leaving the game.
Is Jordan worried?
While many are expecting a grand comeback from the 15-time major winner, Woods might have trouble delivering the same. Jordan worries for this exact same reason, unable to tell Woods that he might never be as good as he once was.
Earlier this year, Jordan met Woods at a restaurant for dinner, where the Chicago Bulls legend saw Woods relaxed, and even talk about his injuries. “The thing is,” Jordan said, “I love him so much that I can’t tell him, ‘You’re not gonna be great again.’”
Tiger Woods of USA plays out of rough by the 3rd fairway in his morning four ball match with Patrick Reed versus Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari of Europe during day two of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National near Versailles on September 29th 2018 in France (Photo by Tom Jenkins)
Towards the end, Jordan spoke about Woods wanting to head back to 2006, and do things a little differently.
During a rough period, Jordan recalls having his wife, Yvette Prieto, as a companion, which is something he believes Woods needs. “He has to find that happiness within his life, that’s the thing that worries me. I don’t know if he can find that type of happiness. He’s gonna have to trust somebody.”
Former pro explains why players resented Tiger Woods when he first came on Tour.
Tiger Woods is indisputably the greatest golfer of his generation. His list of accomplishments is so long it has its own Wikipedia page (yes, really) and he forever changed the sport of golf.
But back in 1996, before the green jackets and trophies and awe-inspiring moments, Woods was just a rookie on Tour. And while he had already been anointed the chosen one to carry the torch of pro golf into the next era, he didn’t yet have any professional accolades to back up the hype. And that hype rubbed some established pros the wrong way.
“We hated him,” said former Tour pro John Maginnes on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar. “The money — the rumor was $10 million. That was beyond what a quarterback was making. This was an astronomical sum of money, so we resented him.”
That resentment didn’t last long for Maginnes, though.
“Then I met him,” Maginnes said. “This is one of the funniest guys on the Tour. This guy is awesome. And so you immediately love him. Tiger is beloved in the locker room.”
It wasn’t just Woods’ personality that won over Maginnes, either. It was also his game.
“Once I saw the game, I knew everything that I’d ever done in my entire life was in vain,” he said.
Not long after that, Woods won for the first time in his Tour career. Eighty-one more victories — including 15 majors — would follow, and the rest is history.
Check out the entire episode of Subpar below as Maginnes dishes on what it was like playing with Woods, what it’s like to grind on Tour and more.
FORMULAR ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BIG CONTROVERSY: AN ‘INJUSTICE’ IS REVEALED AFTER VERSTAPPEN’S TITLE
Hamilton and Verstappen, a big controversy… An injustice is revealed after Verstappen’s title? Damon Hill was asked to comment on the outcome of the Formula One World Championship and said that the way Max Verstappen won the F1 title was ‘unfair’ and an ‘injustice’.
Just over a month after the dramatic conclusion of the Formula One season, the controversy over Max Verstappen’s F1 title has not abated. Lewis Hamilton has been silent since the 12th of December, which has cast a shadow over his future.
In the meantime, Mercedes is fruitlessly waiting for sanctions that aren’t happening, to be taken against the FIA and more particularly Michael Masi, the race director. Masi, whose decisions were controversial during the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and notably the management of the safety car. And according to 1996 world champion Damon Hill, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have reason to be upset.
“It’s unfair in itself”
“I think at the end of the day Lewis Hamilton’s fans feel very aggrieved because, and Lewis Hamilton may well do this and Mercedes may well do this, the way the decision has gone has put them at a disadvantage and they feel robbed.” says the former F1 Champion, who to be fair has been at the wrong end of title fight ‘injustice’ before.
“So there’s a lot of resentment, obviously. But in the Dutch camp, was it a satisfactory way to decide a championship? You have to say it wasn’t satisfactory.
“I think it may even have been unfair because if you look at it from the point of view of how the decision was made, it allowed some cars to get loose and not others. That in itself is unfair.
“The result was a focus on the two title contenders and I don’t think you can run a motor race or a championship that way – you have to apply the rules equally to all competitors,” he told Sky Sports.
Professionally Surprising: ‘What the #%@! was that?’ How Tiger Woods, in his rookie season, shocked this pro
It goes without saying, but all eyes were on Tiger Woods when he officially joined the PGA Tour in 1996. He won three straight U.S. Amateur titles from 1994-96 and signed a lucrative endorsement contract as soon as he turned pro.
Of course there was intrigue surrounding the phenom. John Maginnes vividly remembers his first up-close look at Woods, when they were paired together at the 1996 B.C. Open, which was Woods’ fourth career start as a pro. Maginnes, now a golf analyst on Sirius XM, recalled that memorable pairing when he was a guest on this week’s GOLF Subpar Podcast.
On the third hole, a par-5, Woods pulled his tee shot into the trees but it kicked back out into the fairway.
“I’m standing 10 feet away from the hardest golf swing I’ve ever seen in my life, the loudest contact to a balata golf ball I’ve ever heard,” Maginnes said. “And this ball took off and looked like a laser.”
Maginnes said just when he thought the ball was supposed to drop, it kept going. And going, and going.
“And by this point, Tiger’s already walked 40 yards,” Maginnes said. “As soon as he made contact he knew. It landed about four steps onto the front of the green and trickled to the back fringe.”
Mike “Fluff” Cowan was Woods’ caddie. Maginnes first met him the previous year at the U.S. Open.
“And I looked at Fluff, and I want to be very clear to all the listeners, I was not asking advice when I said, ‘Fluff, what the F was that?’ And he said, ‘That’s our 2-iron we carried about 275.’
“At the time I was averaging 268 off the tee, and he hit an iron 275. And I did dribble that 3-wood right on the front fringe, by the way.”
Maginnes tied for 60th. Woods tied for 3rd and two weeks later, in his next start, won the Las Vegas Invitational for his first career PGA Tour victory.