Tamlyn Patterson
3 minute read
29 Apr 2016
12:00 pm

Plenty of guesswork as big cat goes on prowl

Tamlyn Patterson

The circus is back in town. And in typical fashion, the Tiger Woods show is bound to be a sell-out. The only question remaining is, when?

Tamlyn Patterson

Speculation is rife surrounding his exact comeback date, but general consensus is that he’ll tee it up at the Wells Fargo Championship in two weeks. Right before the Players which is considered the fifth Major, Quail Hollow is the perfect place for him to start the long journey back in a sport blessed with plenty of prodigious talent.

The former world No 1 has until tomorrow evening to decide if he’ll show up at a venue where he won in 2007 when it was known as the Wachovia Championship, and where Rory McIlroy is defending champion. And it won’t be easy with everything from his head to toe under full scrutiny, not to mention a swing that has been ripped to shreds over the years, injury after injury.

Golf Digest’s senior writer Tim Rosaforte was inside the ropes when the now world No 499, showed up at a junior clinic last week where he belted a few drives in the 300 yard region. He was in action again on Monday and played a full five holes alongside buddy Mark O’Meara and David Feherty at the opening of the Bluejack National Golf Club – Tiger’s first design on US soil.

The 14-time Major winner said he “definitely felt a little tired but pretty good” afterwards, playing for the first time since the Wyndham Championship last August. Earlier this week, news that Woods had registered for the US Open at Oakmont next month also hit the newswires, adding fuel to the fire.

As to be expected, his agent Mark Steinberg simply described it as “procedural” and all we can do in the meantime is wait and hope we have a fully fit and healthy Tiger when he returns. From shrouds of enticing mystery to hard, black and white facts.

Our pride and joy on the international golfing circuit for the past few years – Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen – have both decided to give the Rio Olympics in August a miss. While we don’t know why exactly Charl has decided to drop team captain Gary Player, Louis has cited schedule and family issues three months in advance. The sport is only making its comeback after 112 years, no need to diarise it guys.

Luckily we (well so far) have a willing candidate in Branden Grace who is our top-ranked South African at 11 in the world golf rankings. Charl, ranked 20th, was perfectly placed to grab that second berth following Oosthuizen’s withdrawal late last week.

As current standings dictate, Jaco van Zyl, ranked 59th, is the most likely to fill the other spot. Each country is allowed no more than two players until the field for Rio reaches its limit of 60. Countries are allowed up to four players if they are in the top-15 by July 11.

The Black Knight hasn’t minced his words and rightly so in criticising the star duo. He said he would’ve given anything to play in the Olympics given the fact that no living golfer has had the opportunity.

At least we know the fire still burns brightly in the upper echelons of the game with the big three – Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and McIlroy – all committing to the global showpiece. Louis and Charl – shame on you.