Tiger Woods Adjusts to Competing Without Fans
Written by B87FM on July 14, 2020
DUBLIN, Ohio — Tuesday morning, in his first look at a PGA Tour occasion in 5 months, Tiger Woods hit an impressive iron shot throughout a observe spherical that soared towards an elevated inexperienced 250 yards away. When the ball deftly skirted bunkers defending the placing floor and settled eight toes from the 15th gap, one individual among the many handful of safety officers, volunteers and media members watching Woods clapped his palms.
Because the faintest potential applause pierced the stillness on the Muirfield Village Golf Membership, residence to this week’s Memorial Event, Woods appeared uncomfortable, or startled. Accustomed to being surrounded by tens of 1000’s of cheering admirers, even throughout observe rounds, Woods awkwardly turned to his one fan, provided a sheepish wave and smiled.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that spectators are no longer allowed at PGA Tour occasions, together with observe rounds, a scenario that has led to quiet, uneasy non-celebrations at the same time as a tournament-clinching last putt falls into the outlet. Woods has watched the scenes from afar on TV, however on Tuesday he obtained his first style of the modified surroundings.
He’s nonetheless attempting to regulate.
“I’ve been there after they’re throwing drinks in direction of the greens and folks screaming, high-fiving, folks operating by way of bunkers — that’s all gone,” Woods stated to reporters after his observe spherical. “That’s our new actuality that we’re going through.”
As Woods spoke, it was as if he was remembering one thing he took without any consideration and now wished he had not.
“It’s a really completely different world out right here — to not have the distractions, the noise, the joy, the vitality that the followers convey,” he stated. “It’s only a silent and completely different world.”
Woods added, “Very stark, actually.”
He was requested if he might bear in mind the final time he had performed a aggressive spherical and not using a crowd current. Perhaps in faculty at Stanford?
Woods barely shook his head. He was having none of it, and deadpanned: “Even in faculty I had a number of folks following.” He then grinned.
It was completely affordable to anticipate that Woods may miss his golf kingdom throughout a five-month tour layoff this yr, however who knew he missed his topics a lot?
Even when the course ambiance on Tuesday was solely completely different at Muirfield, Woods was nonetheless glad to be again and insisted he was far fitter than he was his last tournament appearance in mid-February, when he completed final among the many golfers who made the lower on the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles. On the time, Woods’s surgically repaired again was stiff and inhibited his swing. By Could’s made-for-TV match in Florida, the place he and Peyton Manning paired to beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady head-to-head, Woods appeared each constantly sharp and highly effective.
“I’ve been capable of prepare so much,” Woods stated Tuesday. “I’ve been capable of do a number of issues that I hadn’t completed in a really very long time, which is spend a number of time with my children and be round them.
“Bodily, I really feel so significantly better than I did then. I’ve been capable of prepare and focus on getting again up to the mark and again as much as match pace.”
Whereas the five-month break from elite aggressive golf was not anticipated, Woods stated he had realized to adapt to such layoffs since they’ve develop into a necessity after his many again reconstructions.
“Sadly, over the previous few years I’ve been used to taking lengthy breaks and having to construct my recreation to a degree the place it’s at a tour degree at residence and play a number of tournaments right here and there,” he stated. “This was a pressured break for all of us, however I’m excited to get again into taking part in once more.”
Woods is the final American golfer ranked within the prime 30 to return to the tour, and he admitted he weighed whether or not to return again sooner. (Some prime golfers from different international locations haven’t performed in the USA due to necessary quarantine restrictions.) However in the long run, it was Woods’s recognition that factored closely in his determination.
“I’m used to taking part in with plenty of folks round me or having plenty of folks have a direct line to me and that places not solely myself in peril however my family and friends,” he stated, including that he finally felt it was safer to stay at residence in Florida.
“I’m used to having so many individuals round me and even contact me — simply going from inexperienced to tee,” he stated. “That’s one thing that I checked out and stated, ‘I’m actually not fairly snug with that complete thought. Let’s see the way it performs out first.’”
In returning now, Woods comes again to one thing of a second residence on the Memorial Event, a spot the place he has gained 5 occasions and he stated he felt snug.
Till, maybe, he hit a really spectacular shot and just one individual clapped.