Nike, we have a problem.
The 2018 version of the Tiger Woods Traveling Comeback Show brings its drama to the City of Angels this week and Tiger’s got a problem.
After his finish just outside the Top 20 at The Farmers had everyone going totally bonkers, there’s still a problem.
We don’t know if Eldrick can play two weeks, back-to-back, the old two-in-a-row routine.
Woods hasn’t given any hint as to what his schedule looks like after this week’s visit to Riviera — the typical Tiger Woods-Mark Stineberg hush-hush, cloak-and-dagger stuff.
Next week is the Honda Classic, about 10 minutes as the crow flies from Eldrick’s Fortress Of Solitude up there on Jupiter Island, more like 25 minutes if you have to drive. Common sense suggests that the Honda would probably be the next stop on Tiger’s Top Secret Itinerary. Only one problem — he’s yet to commit and he has until Friday per PGA Tour regulations to announce his intention.
So what’s the big problem?
Well it seems the 14-time major champion was “a little sore” after his four days of hiking around Torrey Pines. That’s to be expected. But what exactly is that “soreness”?
“My feet,” he said. “I’m not used to walking. I’m used to being in a cart playing 36 holes.
“It’s a good sore, it’s just different.”
Nike, we have a problem.
One would think that those Nike TW ’17 shoes with the unique dual strapping system would provide Eldrick with some comfort for his sore dogs.
At $200 a pair, they should be massaging his feet while he plays.
But seriously, sore feet?
You’d think Tiger would have known that after the Hero Challenge and started hiking a little more around The Medalist instead of tooling around in a golf cart.
So Thursday Eldrick will get his hike-on with some pretty good playing partners. He’s got Rory and J.T. — as in McIlroy and Justin Thomas, last season’s Player Of The Year.
Like Tiger, Rory’s got to make a comeback — he missed the cut at Pebble Beach. J.T. wasn’t even there so he should be pretty well rested.
That’s the feature pairing — you’ve got the world’s No. 550 out there with No. 4 and No. 10.
Wednesday Tiger was touting that he’d like to go “head-to-head” with Rory. That’s all fine and dandy but he might want to consider that No. 1 is the defending champion this week.
Maybe it’s the fact that he’s only played here 10 times in his 25 seasons on tour and probably didn’t follow last year’s proceedings in L.A. D.J. basically dismantled the field after a four-day battle with fog and rain, he won by five and that launched him into the No. 1 spot on the charts. Tiger knows what that feels like although it’s been what seems like forever since Eldrick topped the hit parade.
D.J.’s on the other side of the draw from the Woods, McIlroy, Thomas group, they go off at 7:22 local time on Thursday at the 10th tee. D.J.’s in the afternoon (12:12) with Adam Scott and Bubba Watson. off No. 1.
Maybe Tiger knows with some certainty that he’s not ready for a head-to-head with D.J.
There’s still that matter of the Devil Ball that showed up at Torrey Pines, you know, 17 fairways in four rounds. Woods had the left-and-right miss combo going for him but a world-class short-game kept him in the contest.
Should be interesting this week to see where his drives land.
Oh yes, and there’s that matter of the sore feet.
If Tiger’s Tootsies are still smarting come Sunday, we’ve got two words of advice for him: