By Jay Betsill
The golf world has been anxiously awaiting the return of Tiger Woods since the Wyndham Championship 14 months ago.
Apparently 414 days was not enough and the wait will last a little longer.
Last Friday, Woods formally committed to the Safeway Open, the season-opening event of the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season at the Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa, CA. There was a huge buzz in the golf world with the word that Woods would be playing with Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry in the Pro-Am and would be paired with Phil Mickelson for the first two rounds of the event.
Monday morning, the 14-time major champion announced on his website that his comeback is on hold.
“After a lot of soul searching, and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA TOUR or compete in Turkey,” Woods said. “My health is good and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be. It’s not up to my standards, and I don’t think it would be up to yours.”
Woods is also withdrawing from the Turkish Airlines Open in November but hopes to play in the Tiger Woods Foundation’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December.
“When I announced last week I was going to Safeway, I had every intention of playing, or I wouldn’t have committed,” Woods said, on his website. “Unfortunately, however, lately my practice has been limited. I spent a week with the US Ryder Cup Team, an experience and honor I wouldn’t trade for anything. I practiced this past weekend at Stanford, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn’t ready to compete against the best golfers in the world. I will continue to work hard, and plan to play at my Foundation’s event, the Hero World Challenge.”
Golf Channel spoke to Safeway Open host Johnny Miller about the news that Woods would not be playing in Napa.
“It’s hard being Tiger Woods, it really is,” Miller said. “Especially if he can’t back it up with semblance of the old Tiger Woods. Everybody expects him to come back and play like he did in the year 2000. That’s just not going to happen … I hope that he can find a little joy in the game again and feel good about teeing it up.”
Woods, the world No. 1 for a record 623 weeks, has fallen to No. 786 in the official world golf rankings.