Serious about the Olympics, Tiger Woods excited about three-event year-end run

V Krishnaswamy Chiba | Updated on October 23, 2019 Published on October 23, 2019

Tiger Woods. File photo   -  REUTERS

He will be 44 when the 2020 Games open in Tokyo

Tiger Woods was still in single digits, as far as his age goes, when his father took him to the archery event at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. He was too young to comprehend how big it was, but he enjoyed the atmosphere and the experience.

He will be 44 when the 2020 Games open in Tokyo where golf will be played at Kasumigaseki Country Club, a private course in Saitama, 65 km to the west of Tokyo. One wonders if Woods will check it out this week.

In the meantime, the 15-time Major winner, Woods shared his excitement about the run of three events between now and mid-December. The Zozo Championship this week will be followed by Hero World Challenge in first week of December and the President’s Cup in Australia soon after that.

With Woods playing in Japan for the first time since the 2006 Dunlop Phoenix Tournament, does he have Olympics in his mind? The answer: A big “Yes.”

Woods went deep. “I would love to play in an Olympic Games. In ‘84, Long Beach was right down the street from our house and right next to El Dorado. My dad and I, we went to the archery games, so I got a chance to experience the Olympics at a very early age and didn’t really understand it. But over the years, having friends compete in the Olympics, seeing golf become part of the Olympics, it would be an honour to represent my country in an Olympic. Right now I’m ninth in the world rankings and hopefully next year I can have a good year and qualify and represent my country.”

Right now Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantalay and Justin Thomas are the top four Amercians, with Bryson De Chambeau and Woods in tow. A country can send four players, only if all are among the world Top-15; otherwise, the cap is two and only 60 players get into the Olympic field.

Talking about his knee and the procedure, Woods revealed, “Yeah, I had it scoped... some cartilage issues. I was intending to actually get it done last year after the Hero World Challenge. Because I had played well in the Playoffs and I won the TOUR Championship, I figured I would keep rolling with it. I wanted to play at Torrey at the beginning of the year. If I had the surgery, I wouldn’t be ready for Torrey Pines, so I decided not to have the procedure done and tried to get through the rest of the year and it progressively got worse...”

Looking back, it may have been a right call. He won the 2019 Masters, but the other Majors did not go the way he would have liked.

So, is he ready for what could potentially be three events from now to mid-December ?

Woods said, “I had the procedure a little bit early and got ahead of it. I thought that I had enough time to rehab it correctly and be ready for this event (Zozo), be ready for Hero (World Challenge), and I’m going to Australia whether I’m playing or not.

“So I want to be fit and ready for the end of the year and I’ve been kind of battling through this the entire year and trying to piece it together. It’s been nice to finally get over the hump and start feeling good again.”

Did he ever feel the procedure would stop him from thinking about a playing the role of the captain at the President’s Cup? He said, “Probably the latter. It made me more hopeful that I could do all of the above, play this week, play Hero and play Australia. The way I was feeling towards the middle part of the year, it was going to be a tall order. Started to struggle with it, it started affecting my back and the way I was walking and trying to play, trying to read putts and all of the above. So, I’m excited about having this end-of-the-year run.”

So is everyone else in the sport.

Published on October 23, 2019
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