I was starting to miss this tradition — it felt like it had been a while. I’m sure there have been others the past few months, but I obviously haven’t been paying close attention, as there are some more important, potentially life-altering late-night breaking news that happens almost daily now. However, we can’t blame tonight’s Tiger news dump on Team Tiger, though, and the most significant part did come out on Thursday, so I guess it’s more accurate to call this “WUP’s Friday night Tiger news dump.” Minor details.
Considering we haven’t heard and/or seen from Tiger Woods in real life since he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic and he also pulled out from a press conference at Riviera — both of which were due to back pain — I’m not sure anyone in the right mind actually thinks Tiger will tee it up (in competition) at the Masters next month.
Earlier this evening, Golf World’s Brian Wacker reported that TW hasn’t played or practiced since Dubai, citing multiple sources. He also quoted several unnamed sources, speculating and/or declaring knowledge of Woods’ current condition and plans — all of which sound plausible and likely aren’t far from the truth. I don’t know. We don’t know. Who knows — besides Tiger — but I’m also not going to question another reporter’s reporting. Here are the segments attributing the info to sources:
“According to multiple sources, Woods has not been able to play or practice since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic last month because of back spasms. …
…[O]ne source close to the situation near Woods’ home in Jupiter, Fla., said, “I would be shocked if he plays anytime soon.”
Another source said that he saw Woods recently and he “didn’t look good,” adding that while he hopes he is back soon, Woods doesn’t look close to being ready and that a return at the Masters would be too soon. The source added that all Woods has been able to do of late is putt.
The author doesn’t technically, officially “report” that it is certain Woods won’t be at the Masters; rather it was more of a conclusion drawn by statements via various sources; whereas, what I stated above was simply my personal opinion — my pure speculation. But one thing I do know a lot about are backs and back pain and trying to play golf with back pain/injuries, and it freaking sucks, so I have a ton of empathy with what Tiger’s dealing with. And I will always defend him on this topic. In fact, I would offer to be his champion on this issue. But I digress.
Mark Steinberg came out with a rather strong rebuttal (which is nothing out of the ordinary and almost expected despite he didn’t reply to Wacker’s request for an update on Woods’ condition, but what was a bit weird/unnecessary was that he called him out by name). Steinberg refuted the Golf World story to Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte with the following statement:
“I have no idea who Mr. Wacker’s really close sources are. I can tell you this, nobody spoke to him (Wacker); so how he could know something that Tiger and I don’t know is comical,” Steinberg said. “I talked to Tiger four hours ago on the phone. We’re not in a situation to even talk about playing in the Masters now. He’s gotten treatments and is progressing and hoping he can do it. There’s not been a decision one way or the other. I couldn’t give you a fair assessment, but to say it’s doubtful is an absolutely inaccurate statement.”
Asked if Woods has hit balls at his compound on Jupiter Island, or if he has been putting as the report stated, Steinberg answered: “I don’t want to talk about specifics yet. When we’re ready to get into that, we’ll disclose it. He’s working hard at getting better, he’s working hard at progressing.”
Blah, blah blah, the usual.
“Absolutely”? Those are strong words. I mean, Steiny, what do you really know? Sounds like you’re just spewing the normal company lines. Nothing new. But when was the last time Steiny spoke and/or saw Tiger? And text doesn’t count! Neither does FaceTime!
Just over a week ago, Woods reported on his website that he was disappointed to miss Arnold Palmer’s event and also added that he had no timetable for his return.
However, we do know exactly when and where Woods will next appear in public! Great news, right? Tiger will be in NYC Monday for a book signing at 12:30pm ET at Barnes & Noble in Union Square, promoting his newly-released “The 1997 Masters: My Story.” As with everything Tiger-related, there are strict rules to attend the Tiger sighting.
This event offers an extremely limited amount of wristbands and seats with purchase of The 1997 Masters: My Story. Mr. Woods will only be signing copies of his new book, no memorabilia please. Wristbands will be distributed with purchase of The 1997 Masters: My Story, as of 9am on the morning of the event at this location only.
Requests for signatures on memorabilia, book personalizing or photos with Mr. Woods will not be granted. This event will not include a reading, discussion or Q&A. Two book limit per person.
Well, I was supposed to fly out of Austin to cover the WGC-Match Play event around 1pm, but given this exciting event, which happens to take place less than eight blocks from my apartment, I feel like it would be a disservice to golf fans everywhere if I didn’t go through all these hoops, get in line, buy a book for Tiger to sign, etc. Naturally, I’ll document as much as possible via social media, or hell, maybe I’ll go crazy and live stream the entire experience. It’ll be like, you’re there! I think I’m just going to have to make a game-time decision, but hopefully it will be as fun as it all sounds.