Sport Golf

Sunday 11 December 2016

I am far from being done - I'll fight to get back, vows Tiger Woods

Published 08/12/2015 | 02:30

Former world number one Tiger Woods has vowed to fight to get back to his old form
Former world number one Tiger Woods has vowed to fight to get back to his old form

The two Tiger eras - one applying to Woods the golfer, and the other to the Irish economy's boom - broadly coincided in a heady run of success until 2008. . . and then the world changed.

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In that year, Woods won the last of his 14 Majors, playing in agony with a torn cruciate ligament but defying the pain to defeat Rocco Mediate in the US Open at Torrey Pines.

A few months later, in September 2008, came the reckoning for the economy, and the Irish people were left with multi-billions of euro to repay for many decades to come.

Tiger's personal life splashed into the worldwide media in 2009, and, just like the seemingly unstoppable Celtic Tiger, the Woods aura of invincibility was smashed.

Fast-forward to 2015.

Right now, for all our woes, Ireland Inc has a better chance of raising its economic performance to a level closer to that of the late '90s and 2000s than Tiger has of becoming any kind of a force in golf again.

Woods' in-depth interview with Time Magazine and his press conference at the Hero World Challenge, allied to further comments made on the NBC/Golf Channel broadcast of the event on Sunday night have underlined the seriousness of his situation.

Some commentators interpreted segments of Woods' Time article as coming close to a retirement announcement.

That's not quite the case, at least not yet, as he made clear on the TV broadcast on Sunday night.

"The difference is that the health is different than what I used to be," he said. "The spring-back from the joint, from all the many surgeries I've had over the years, is so different than having a nerve.

"That's part of the recognition that I believe you're seeing, is that I understand this is very different.

"Does that mean I'm not going to rehab, I'm not going to train, I'm not going to try and fight to get back? Of course I am.

"I'm far from being done, but I have to be patient - which I'm not very good at, when it comes to that side of it.

"When I'm on a golf course, I can be very patient, but when it comes to this stuff, I love to train, I love to bust my butt, I love to get out there and try and get better, but this is the complete flip-side.

"They're telling me that I can't do anything in order to get better.

"That was a hard transition for me to understand and wrap my head around, because it's so counter-intuitive to how I've always been."

A key passage in the Time article was Woods' insistence that after seven surgeries, he will not undergo any more operations.

"Let's just not go down that road ever again. No more surgeries. Seven's enough. Four knees, three backs, that's enough," he said.

In that case, Woods, who turns 40 on December 30, has to hope that rest and physical therapy can buy him more time on the fairways.

Time waits for no man, but while Woods goes into decline, there are welcome signs of confidence for domestic golf.

The good news is that this is being backed with serious investment, as is evident at Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links, and Moyvalley in Meath.

The Links, which was acquired in June 2014 by Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate Plc, is undergoing a multi-million programme of development to the course, the hotel and the grounds.

At Moyvalley, course architect Christy O'Connor Jnr has been commissioned to overhaul the course which will be named the "Twin Oaks Championship Course."

No doubt the owners of both golfing facilities will hope the improvements merit recognition in future course ranking lists.

Portmarnock Links is rated 25th in the '2016 Golf Digest Volvo Top 100' courses, and 20th in the top 30 links classification.

Moyvalley is 98th overall.

Top 20 courses

1: Royal Co Down

2: Portmarnock (Old)

3: Royal Portrush

4: Lahinch

5: Waterville

6: Ballybunion (Old)

7: Tralee

8: The European Club

9: Adare Manor Resort

10: Co Sligo

11: Ballyliffin (Glashedy)

12: Co Louth

13: The Island

14: Old Head

15: Enniscrone

16: Portstewart (Strand)

17: Belmullet (Carne)

18: Ballyliffin (Old)

19: Mount Juliet

20: K Club (Palmer)

Irish Independent

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