Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Tiger Woods is on the tee, or he will be at 2:02 p.m Eastern time today in Arizona. Tiger Woods has had a bunch of tee times, but few as heavily anticipated as his tee time today at the Accenture World Match Play Championship. Because it is Tiger Woods' first tee time Tiger Woods Tee Time Not a Minute Too Soon for PGA in eight months, and with it comes the rebirth of the PGA after dragging on without Tiger for nearly a year.
Tiger Woods last had a tee time at the U.S. Open playoff in June, playing with a wobbly knee and having to walk on it for 90 holes over five days. Woods still beat upstart Rocco Mediate in a now legendary playoff, winning his 14'th major and turning himself into a semi-God in the process, if he wasn't thought of as one already.
But the God-king Woods had to fall after getting surgery for that wounded knee, and having to miss the rest of the season. The rest of the PGA tried to take advantage, but golf itself had far less luck going on without Woods.
Now, PGA's king is back in action, as Woods announced last week that the Accenture World Match Play Championship would be his first event back. Woods has won the event three times in his career, so he is returning to familiar territory. But he has only made it to the final weekend one other time in his seven other appearances.
The golfing world mostly wants Woods not to mess up in his first few events back, so he can arrive at the Masters at full strength in April. The records for major championships and Masters wins are getting closer and closer to being taken by Woods, so the countdown to those days may only be a few years away.
Woods tees off with a match against Australian supporting player Brendan Jones, the last of the 64 seeded players at the Match Play Championship. If Woods was to get all the way to the finals, he would be playing 104 holes this weekend to test his newly restructured knee. But match-play contests are extremely unpredictable, even for players like Woods.
Woods has perhaps not faced so much attention and anticipation for an opening tee time - even by his ridiculously high standards - since his first matches on the Tour over a decade ago. When Woods made his debut on the tour, he was projected as the PGA's savior and largely delivered. Now Tiger Woods Tee Time Not a Minute Too Soon for PGA he has to do it again, after golf faced eight months of low ratings and attention without him.
Woods would face either Tim Clark or Retief Goosen in the next round if he moved on.