Fellow competitors unanimously welcome Woods return

Bernie McGuire

Tiger Woods (Photo by Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Tiger Woods’ fellow competitors have reacted unanimously in supporting the 15-time major winner’s decision to return to formal competition at next week’s PNC Championship in suburban Orlando.

It comes as no surprise that Woods has chosen to return to competition some 10-months after his near fatal single car crash in suburban L. A.

It was Irish Golfer Magazine who reported earlier this week Woods’ likelihood of entering the PNC Championship given how good he seemed to be hitting every club in his bag on the practice range last week in the Bahamas.

As well, Irish Golfer Magazine advised our readers that a place was being left open for Woods and his now 12-year-old son, Charlie to compete in the 20-team Orlando event being again hosted on the Ritz Carlton course that is only a short drive from the famed Arnold Palmer Bay Hill course; an Arnold Palmer event Woods dominated winning no fewer than eight times between 2000 and 2013.

Woods and his son made their debut in last year’s PNC event where they finished 12th behind the Thomas winning duo of son Justin and father, Mike.

And no sooner had Woods posted confirmation of he and Charlie’s participation next week and messages began pouring in supporting Woods’ decision.

Here, with thanks to USA Today, are the reactions from players contesting this week’s QBE Shootout in Naples on the west coast of Florida and each expressing their support for Woods.

Will Zalatoris

“It’s great seeing him out in the Bahamas last week. It’s amazing how the guy goes and hits balls on the range and you kind of want to sit there and watch it instead of the golf. That just shows you how important he is to the game.

“It was cool seeing him at the dinner last Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge. My goal is to hopefully get paired with him before he’s done if he’s able to come back and play a limited schedule. My hopes are high that we’ll see him more than he’s letting on.”

Jason Day

“I think it’s very positive. I’m just as excited as everyone else when it comes to watching him swing a golf club. I think it’s just a little farther away from him tournament ready and playing on the PGA Tour again if he can than most people think. Playing in the PNC is another encouraging sign. When that first video came out, it was still that Tiger swing everyone knows. It’s great to see.”

Kevin Kisner

“At least he’s back swinging, and that’s a positive. And I hope he’s back here sooner than later. If he can get back here. I’ve never had a sustained injury like he has, and he’s had a lot, so I don’t know how long it takes to get back healthy enough and feeling comfortable enough to try and get back out on the PGA Tour.

“But if anybody can do it, it’s him.”

Brandt Snedeker

“It’s very encouraging to see him hitting balls. I’m very excited for him. I know he’s not going to be able to be kind of the same as he was before but I’m glad to see him swinging. Swing looks pretty good. Hopefully he can get his strength back and he can play four or five events a year.”

Billy Horschel

“To me, it looks like he’s moving pretty well. Obviously, the only difference I’ve seen is he doesn’t have the same push off from his right side. His hips don’t move as quick through the swing and is that because of the back or the leg? But hopefully he will continue to get stronger. He looks a lot better than I think anyone could have imagined from what we saw 10 months ago. We’re all happy to see him swing, and overall, it looks pretty good, and I’m interested in seeing what he wants to do. Playing in the PNC, he’s going to have a great time with Charlie and that is great.”

Sean O’Hair

“I think his swing looks amazing. I had some friends of mine ask me what my opinion was of him coming back, and one thing I’ve learned with Tiger is you never bet against him. I’ve never seen anybody as determined as that man. It’s just amazing what he’s done, and I think that he looks amazing, and it hasn’t even been a year yet. I just think I’m kind of on the same page as everybody. I think everybody kind of just wants him to have a good quality of life and I think as long as he’s happy and he wants to come out and do it, he’ll find a way to do it.”

Comments on Twitter include:

  • @USGA said: “Welcome back! Can’t wait to see you and Charlie play”
  • @PGA of America: “Awesome news. Can’t wait to watch you Champ W”
  • @B_dechambeau: “That’s awesome.  Welcome back”
  • @PNCchampionship: “Welcome back Tiger and Charlie”

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