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'No timetable' as speculation mounts on Tiger Woods' return

The 40-year-old former world number one hasn’t played a PGA Tour event since last August.

Image: Danny Lawson

THE SIGHT OF Tiger Woods belting a driver during a clinic at a junior golf event this week fuelled speculation that the 14-time major champion could be poised for a return to competition.

The 40-year-old former world number one hasn’t played a PGA Tour event since last August.

Since then he has undergone back surgery and a follow-up procedure to ease discomfort from a pinched nerve.

His appearance during the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in South Carolina — not far from Augusta National in the neighbouring state of Georgia — marked the first time he’d been seen hitting balls in public.

That prompted one Golf Channel analyst to speculate that Woods could be back for the  5-8 May Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, calling that a “logical” choice.

Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg, however, told Golf Channel “there is no timetable” for the player’s return.

Woods’s longtime friend Notah Begay, a former pro and now an NBC and Golf Channel commentator, said Woods is getting closer to a competitive return and that the physical attributes he’ll need “are starting to materialise”.

Woods opted out of last month’s Masters, posting on his website that after consulting with his medical team he felt it was “prudent” to skip the first major championship of the season.

He attended the pre-tournament Champions Dinner at Augusta National, where tournament chairman Billy Payne professed himself “delighted” with how well Woods looked and fellow pros such as Phil Mickelson said they hoped to see the 14-time major champion back on tour this year.

© – AFP 2016

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