Nov
1
2016
Tiger pinkie-promises he’ll play in Hero
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods

Here we go again. My mind practically exploded when this press release landed in my inbox this afternoon.  Obviously it had to do with Tiger Woods and another comeback announcement. Woods is apparently making his return to competitive golf in December at the Hero World Challenge (Bahamas, here we come!) after a 16-month hiatus due to a back injury and multiple surgeries.

And everyone’s reaction upon hearing this or reading the press release… and apparently I can’t insert emojis! (I was trying to put the eye-roll one).

Good news is I think the majority of people have come to terms with the fact that there’s a likely chance Tiger Woods won’t actually tee it up (in a real tournament round) in December. I mean, I’m not being crucified for calling his bluff because most people are, too (finally, or we’re at least able to all crack a few jokes! HOORAY!)

Look, obviously we’d all love to see him back playing competitive golf, but from the little we know and/or have seen, it doesn’t sound like he’ll physically be able to compete at an adequate level. Tiger’s not the type to just play in tournaments, finish in the middle of the pack and happily collect his check, and I’m not sure who is more pained when he shoots 80 — his fans or Tiger himself.

As I tweeted earlier, I’ll believe it when I see him actually tee off the first hole at Albany, which benefits his foundation, but a more fitting name would be something like, “Tiger and 17 players he might like!” It’s an invitational, so if you’re not “in,” you don’t get to play in the guaranteed money, no cut, free world ranking points buddies trip.

(Apparently my joke/sarcasm was not clear to at least one person, so FYI, I’m just messing around re: how the field is selected. Tiger only has two picks and one of them he uses on himself and the other has to be player ranked in the top 50. Again, no harm intended! Felt like that was obvious, but I guess I need to work on that!)

However, unlike the announcement in September, it doesn’t use vague language, like “hopes to” or “intends,” etc. So, maybe that’s promising. But, again, do we really want to see Tiger play crappy golf? No! He should go out with dignity. We can forget about those 80-something scores in 2015. We can pretend it never happened, but if he continues to play poorly because of physical limitations (or mental), it will taint his legacy as GOAT. I’m not hating, I promise.


 

Here’s the full release, along with the announcement of the players he might like field:

TIGER WOODS TO MAKE RETURN TO COMPETITIVE GOLF AT HERO WORLD CHALLENGE

 

Tournament host joins golf’s Olympic medalists, Ryder Cup participants and three major championship winners from 2016 in the elite 18-player field at Albany in The Bahamas Dec. 1-4; Tickets available at www.HeroWorldChallenge.com

 

ALBANY, Bahamas – Following 16 months away from competitive golf, tournament host Tiger Woods is set to make his return at the 2016 Hero World Challenge Dec. 1-4 at Albany in The Bahamas.

 

“I am excited to make my return at the Hero World Challenge at Albany and play in this terrific tournament,” Woods said. “This is our 18th year, and every year we put together a top field that showcases the best golfers from the previous season. Albany is an outstanding setting, and I can’t thank Hero MotoCorp enough for their support of the tournament and my foundation.”

 

Woods, whose Tiger Woods Foundation is the event’s charitable beneficiary along with the Tavistock Foundation and Albany Scholars Program, is a five-time winner of the Hero World Challenge. He last played in the tournament in 2014.

 

Joining Woods in the Hero World Challenge field is defending champion Bubba Watson. After nearly not playing in last year’s tournament, Watson earned his spot via an exemption that opened up just weeks before the tournament and rolled to a three-stroke victory. Watson makes his title defense in a field that includes 16 of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, three major championship winners from 2016, the Rio Olympics’ gold, silver and bronze medalists and 12 players who competed in last month’s Ryder Cup.

 

The field of 18 PGA TOUR players is invited as follows: the current four major championships winners, the top 11 players available from the Official World Golf Ranking as of Sept. 26, 2016 (following the TOUR Championship), the defending champion and two special-exemption players.

 

The 2016 Hero World Challenge field:

Name (Official World Golf Ranking as of 10/23/2016), Country

 

Dustin Johnson (2), USA

Jordan Spieth (4), USA

Henrik Stenson (5), Sweden

Patrick Reed (7), USA

Bubba Watson (8), USA

Hideki Matsuyama (10), Japan

Rickie Fowler (11), USA

Justin Rose (12), England

Jimmy Walker (17), USA

Matt Kuchar (19), USA

Russell Knox (20), Scotland

Brandt Snedeker (22), USA

Brooks Koepka (23), USA

Louis Oosthuizen (24), South Africa

J.B. Holmes (25), USA

Emiliano Grillo (26), Argentina

Tiger Woods (tournament host), USA

Zach Johnson (exemption), USA

 

 

The field for the Hero World Challenge is made up of many players who produced the biggest moments of the 2015-16 season.

 

World No. 2 Dustin Johnson heads to Albany coming off his first major championship victory at the U.S. Open and PGA TOUR Player of the Year honors, while Henrik Stenson (The Open Championship) and Jimmy Walker (PGA Championship) also ride the momentum of being first-time major championship winners. Johnson won three tournaments during the 2015-16 season, while Hero World Challenge defending champion Watson, World No. 4 Jordan Spieth and World No. 20 Russell Knox each won twice.

 

Justin Rose’s 2016 was most notable for winning the first Olympic golf competition in 100 years. Stenson and Matt Kuchar joined Rose on the Olympic podium as the event’s silver and bronze medal winners, respectively.

 

Patrick Reed, the 2015 Hero World Challenge runner-up, and Brooks Koepka played starring roles in the United States’ 17-11 victory at the 2016 Ryder Cup in October, while Johnson, Spieth, Walker, Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, J.B. Holmes and Zach Johnson also were integral members of the winning effort.

 

The Hero World Challenge is a four-round, 72-hole stroke play event with a $3.5 million purse, a $1 million winner’s prize and Official World Golf Ranking points awarded. It will be held at the challenging par-72, 7,302-yard Albany for the second consecutive year.