With his agent, a friend on the tour, and even the 14-time major champion teasing a potential return to golf at the 2016 Masters, Tiger Woods’ status for the PGA’s first major of the year continues to draw massive speculation.
Play at Augusta is scheduled to begin in a mere eight days, and Woods quasi-cryptic tweet on Tuesday allowed rumors of his pending return to golf after an eight-month absence due to a second back surgery to swirl and swirl.
Coming back to my roots. So Cal!! https://t.co/p1qehnervU
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) March 29, 2016
Still, the message to his more than 5.6 million Twitter followers must be tempered. Woods used the terms “coming back” only to announce his self-named charity foundation would be hosting the PGA’s tournament at Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles and referenced his Southern California roots.
Considering the 40-year-old Woods posted a video online showing him swinging a 9-iron with the caption “progressing nicely,” it would be fair for long-time supporters and fans to jump to conclusions that he’s using social media to gradually build his comeback trail.
Anticipation is also fair considering a triumphant return to golf at the Masters would also be a continuation of Woods’ once improbable and historic career narrative. Woods captured the first major of his career at Augusta in 1997, and snapping his eight-year major drought on the same course seems only fitting.
But the tweet came one day after his agent Mark Steinberg told GolfChannel.com that he no new information on his client’s status for the Masters. Steinberg specifically stated in an email to the network that he had “no further update at the moment.”
In fairness, Woods may be right to exercise caution and wait until the last minute to make his decision. And the Masters, unlike other PGA events, doesn’t require registration until right up until the player’s first tee time.
Woods hasn’t hit the links since the Wyndham Championship last August, and the unpredictable greens and doglegs covering Augusta would be too much for any player to mark their comeback, even a four-time Masters champion like Woods.
Tour friend Steve Stricker did, however, stoke the fire by saying Woods is itching to return. But he also stated Woods won’t rush his recovery either.
"I could see him just staying away this year. I had asked him if he's getting healthier. And he says he is. And he's antsy to get back,” Stricker told Golf.com.
“But I think this time, he wants to take it a little bit slower, and make sure that everything is okay with his back, and he's healed and ready to go before he comes back. He produces so much force in that swing. And the body can only take so much. So I'm sure he's just making sure that everything's okay before he comes back."