On a scale of 1 to 10, Tiger Woods said his back won’t ever be a true 10 again, but Sunday at Medalist Golf Club, it felt pretty good.
Woods returned to competition Sunday at his home course for The Match: Champions for Charity after being sidelined 98 days. Woods last played Feb. 13-16 at the Genesis Invitational where was the last player to make the cut. He then skipped the first three tournaments of the four-event Florida swing with back issues ahead of the PGA Tour postponing the season due to COVID-19.
When asked about his back ahead of Sunday’s match, Woods told CBS Sports reporter Amanda Balionis it’s not where it used to be due to four surgeries over his 24-year pro career.
“Well, let’s just say that 10 is not what it used to be,” Woods quipped.
“But it’s still better than most,” Balionis returned.
“Absolutely,” Woods said.
Later in the broadcast, analyst Charles Barkley asked Woods if spending the last two months in quarantine was beneficial for the 44-year-old’s body as the Tour plans to return June 11 with the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Country Club.
“Well it’s been nice to be at home and be able to train every day and get some treatment on it; get into a routine basically,” Woods said on the sixth green. “You know, I didn’t have to play for a while. I was trying to peak for Augusta and trying to get ready for that and all of a sudden with this pandemic and everything that’s happened￼, we’ve all been very careful and I’ve had to stay and home and it’s been good in that regard.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with my kids, which has been awesome. And so we’ve had a lot of fun. This is probably the most amount of tennis I’ve played in forever so that’s been good.”
Barkley also asked Woods his thoughts on the condensed Tour schedule which puts the season’s three remaining majors within 10 weeks of each other.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what happens,” Woods said. “I think that trying to peak for the majors in April, May, June and July, that’s how it’s been forever and now this has all changed and everything’s fluid and it’s on the fly.”
Woods didn’t comment further because his playing partner, Peyton Manning, interrupted him, asking for a read on the sixth green.
Woods excused himself with a zinger aimed at Barkley, “(Manning’s) a hell of a lot more important than you are.”￼￼￼
“I don’t think y’all understand, he’s a player and a caddie. He’s a green reader,” Manning chirped at Barkley.
Manning won the hole with a net birdie putt to take the lead 3 up over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady through six holes.