Tiger Woods’ comeback may be on hold until 2017, and world No. 1 Jason Day didn’t believe his friend and mentor when the 14-time major champion said in September that he intended to play three comeback events this fall.
“I never really had any faith in him coming back this year,” Day said, according to Golf Australia. “The state of his game, I’m not sure. His back is so sore. I think we’ll see him sometime next year, but I’m not sure when.”
In announcing his intended comeback, Woods said he would play in October at the Safeway Open, in November at the European Tour’s Turkish Airlines Open and in December at the Hero World Challenge, run by his foundation in the Bahamas. After committing to the Safeway Open on deadline Friday before tournament week, Woods withdrew the following Monday from the event, saying his game is “vulnerable” and not fit for public consumption. Woods mentioned in announcing his withdrawal that he enjoyed being with the Americans at the Ryder Cup, for which he was a vice-captain. Day adds that Woods was invigorated by Phil Mickelson’s close call to Henrik Stenson at the Open Championship in July.
“I think he misses being out here, which is understandable because the competition is so addicting,” Day said.
“He saw Phil Mickelson playing well at the Open Championship, and that got him going. But he knows he can’t push it.”
Woods hasn’t competed on the PGA Tour since finishing tied for 10th place in the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. Complaining of hip pain that week, he later learned the source of that pain was the same spot on his back where a microdiscectomy was performed in March 2014. Another microdiscectomy was done in September 2015, with a follow-up procedure done the next month.
Despite having some apprehension about Woods’ comeback, Day wants to see the former world No. 1 get back inside the ropes.
“I’m looking forward to seeing him play again,” Day said, “seeing what the state of his game is.”