Tiger Talk

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What everyone is saying about Woods' return.

What everyone is saying about Woods' return.

During his absence from golf, Tiger Woods has lost none of his ability to inspire intensely held opinions. On the occasion of Tiger's comeback round in the WCG-Bridgestone Invitational, we thought it would be a good time to hear from various quarters about the state of Tiger Nation.

“You think you're friends with a guy. You talk to him once a week for 15 years. You're like, this dude is my friend, we do things, we have fun together. I haven't talked to him in two years and I'm wondering what the hell is going on. I'm sitting back like everyone else and saying, what the hell is going on? I just feel sad, to be honest with you. You're like, dude, who is around this guy, who has his back, who has his best interest, who doesn't want anything from him? I don't know why we haven't talked to him in a couple of years. It's been very frustrating to watch everything that has transpired, and getting rid of (caddie) Steve Williams was probably the last straw for me.” — Charles Barkley, on the Mike Lupica Show


“Obviously I'm a player, but I'm a fan of golf and of sports, and it's a very compelling story. Everyone wants to know what he's going to do if he comes back, how is he going to play, how is his knee, people want to know. It'll be interesting. I think the draw has worked out really well for him playing with Clarkie (Darren Clarke) the first two days. He'll feel very comfortable in that environment. Darren is a very good friend of his. Yeah, it'll be interesting to see how he does come back.” — U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy

“His expectation is to win. I mean, obviously it really doesn't matter what I think. I know coming off injuries and being away from competition, it is tough. When I had my wrist injury, you feel like practicing and preparing away from tournament action. You feel very ready. When it comes down to crunch time and playing under competitive circumstances, it's a lot more difficult. You know, Tiger has done it a few times. He's obviously been away through injury a few times, so he's getting used to it a little bit. But I don't know what his expectation is. Obviously he always sets his standards very high, and that's the way he should be.” — World No. 1 Luke Donald

“Well, it's great that he's back. I mean, he's great for golf; he is. It's kind of like when (Michael) Jordan left and he retired for the first time. There was a hole in the game, there just was. Him not being here, it's a great opportunity for other players to come up and show their skills and everything, but there's no one like Tiger. I've never seen anyone like him. He's one of those once-an-era type of guys who's kind of changing the game forever. It's great that he's back. It's difficult because he's so secretive. We don't know how much of him is back. Is his leg good? Is it not good? You just don't know. Hopefully he's healthy.” — PGA Tour player Hunter Mahan

“He is playing out of desperation. He believes the only way out of the hell that he’s in is to play his way out. He wants to prove everybody wrong, he probably feels pressure from his sponsors, and he knows that time is slipping away. But I don’t think he’s physically, mentally or technically ready to play. How could he be?” — Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee


“The old Tiger is dead. He doesn’t have the same body and he doesn’t have the same mind.” — Chamblee

“I’ve heard of guys who have come back from long layoffs, guys who have changed caddies and guys who have changed swings. But it’s unprecedented to do all three at once.” — Golf instructor David Leadbetter


“A wounded dog has a tough time trying to keep winning battles. And because the battle was a lot tougher than I think even Tiger realized, he needs to heal before he gets back into these battles again.” — Michael Jordan

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