It was late Thursday afternoon and Tiger Woods hit another of his many errant tee shots at Innisbrook’s Copperhead course.
He ended up as the man who made the 2018 Valspar after name stars Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth couldn’t make the cut.
Yet Woods took a huge risk the first day that could have sent him home early and perhaps put The Comeback on hold for quite a while.
Woods’ tee shot at the par four 16th sailed left and settled next to an oak tree. That tree was in the line of his swing and he knew it.
“He told everyone that the left side needed to be cleared out,” a wiltness told us two days after the remarkable shot. “He said basically ‘if this club breaks it could kill someone.'”
Woods took numerous rehearsals and it was evident that the shot was high risk. Looked for all intents and purposes that he was putting his left wrist at risk, it was obviously possible that he could smash it against the tree trunk on his thru-swing.
That’s exactly what happened when Woods hit his great escape shot. What he did do was let go of the club at impact to lessen the force on his wrist and it ended up working out okay.
He winced at impact then spent time shaking his left wrist as he headed toward the green.
His shot ended up just short of the green and he’d save par on his way to an opening day 70.
Woods, back for the first time in nearly 22 years to the Tampa area, drew record crowds to Innisbrook with the final count approaching 200,000 for the week.
They came from Homosassa to Wimauma and everywhere in between and they came to see Woods.
It was as if no one else was in town.
He still moves the needle in a big way.
And is still willing to hit the risky shots.