It's been 14 months since Tiger's last tee off, a T10 at the 2015 Wyndham Championship in Greensboro NC (about 30 minutes or so from where I live). Since then he's seen two more back surgeries, a tour of duty as a Ryder Cup vice captain, and a pick as a 2017 Presidents Cup vice captain. (Captain Steve Stricker talked as if that depended on whether Tiger made the team or not.) Some folks wondered if this day would ever come.
But it has and now, ranked at 767 in the world, the questions are concerned with how well Tiger will play. Most of the media seem to believe Tiger will play very well, although they aren't sure exactly how well. And most of the players are anxious to see him back. (Word is that the Ryder Cup players tried to get him to hit some balls last week and he refused, so he could focus on his vice captaincy. In retrospect, good choice.)
The most interesting comments to me have come from Jesper Parnevik, simply because Jesper was so infuriated with Tiger after what happened between him and Elin. (Elin had played nanny to Jesper's kids while his family was on the road, you'll remember.) At any rate, Jesper appears to have buried the hatchet between them and has even been playing some golf with Tiger. And Jesper told GC:
"By the way, he's been hitting a lot of balls, and he's hitting it great. He's pounding it a mile and flushing everything. On the range at least, his trajectory and ball flight are like the Tiger we knew 15 years ago."He also said:
"Comebacks are never a sure thing, but something tells me his might be spectacular."So we may be in for something special.
What am I saying? Of course we'll be in for something special because Tiger won't be alone. Phil Mickelson also plans to tee it up at Safeway, as do Matt Kuchar and Paul Casey. John Rahm will be making his first PGA Tour appearance as a full member, and #1 amateur Maverick McNealy is in on a sponsors exemption. This looks to be the best-ever field for the Johnny Miller-hosted event.
As if 2016 hadn't already provided us with some spectacular golf...