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Golf’s best react to 82-time PGA Tour winner Tiger Woods returning for The Genesis Invitational

When a family member goes through an injury in the hospital and is able to complete rehabilitation and return to home, love and care is in the air in the reunification process.

For a player, like Tiger Woods, who suffered a single car accident that nearly ended his life two years ago on top of a recent stint with plantar fasciitis to add to the pain in his legs, he is making his return to the PGA Tour and a property as elusive as The Riviera Country Club. It’s where he made his professional debut all the way back in 1992.

It also happens to be the site of The Genesis Invitational. He is not only present as the tournament host, but also competing in the field as first round action kicks off on Thursday.

This is Woods’ first appearance on the PGA Tour since last year’s Open Championship and first non-major tournament start since the 2020 ZOZO Championship.

In total, Woods played three of the four major tournaments last year, including the PGA Championship and the Masters Tournament.

Woods’ plantar fasciitis first popped up last November, which forced him to sit out of his event, the Hero World Challenge the first week of December.

Despite skipping the Hero World Challenge, Woods was back on the course and competing in front of the cameras as he partnered with then-World No. 1 Rory McIlroy at Capital One’s The Match against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. A week later, he teamed up with his son, Charlie, at the PGA Champions’ event, the PNC Championship.   

Also read: The Genesis Invitational – preview, TV times, pairings, picks and more

While preparing to tee it up this week in a pairing with McIlroy and Thomas for the first two days, Woods said this was his target event to play, since he was already going to be present as the tournament host.

“The plan was to play, whether or not this body would listen to me or not, was the main question,” the 82-time PGA Tour winner said to the media on Tuesday. “It’s whether or not I have endurance in my leg, and we’ve been pushing it pretty good and been able to recover each and every day, which is great.”

Woods, who said the plantar fasciitis has improved in his leg, has been hitting golf balls in the range and working on his short game.

For those December events Woods participated in, he rode a cart around the course. As a result, the only question for Woods this week is his ability to walk 72 holes across four days, something he has not done since first suffering the plantar fasciitis.

Related: Tiger Woods and golfers with the most PGA Tour victories of all time

Current & former World No. 1s react to Tiger Woods’ comeback

tiger woods genesis invitational
Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The fans cannot wait for the 47-year-old to tee it up this week for the first time this season. However, not only are the fans interested in watching him on the course, but also his fellow competitors in this week’s field.   ‘

2016 Summer Olympic Gold Medalist Justin Rose said he was shocked when he heard the news of the 15-time major champion competing this week.

“I was surprised. I actually didn’t know when to expect to see Tiger. His golf game looks great. In terms of actually the important part of can you hit a golf ball and can you get the ball in the hole, like all of that seemed to be really in order. But we know that’s definitely not the thing he struggles with.

It’s obviously the physical side of putting four rounds of golf together and it’s a really good sign to see him in the field and feeling willing and able to get out here.”

Justin Rose on Tiger Woods competing this week

Rose, who was No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings for 13 weeks four years ago, snapped his PGA Tour victory drought at four years a couple weeks ago at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

His length of not being in the winner’s circle is similar to Woods, who has not won since the 2019 ZOZO Championship by three strokes in Japan. Woods’ last win before that came at the 2019 Masters for his first major victory since the 2008 U.S. Open.

Also read: Where Tiger Woods ranks among the all-time major victories

Woods’ presence alone suffices for the golfers, especially for the reigning Masters Champion, Scottie Scheffler, who jumped up to the top spot in the Official World Golf Rankings this week after his win at the WM Phoenix Open.

“I think for us, as players, it’s a lot of fun. Tiger means so much to us as players out here on tour and he’s done so much for us out here that it’s fun for us to be able to see him still continue to do what he loves.

“It was pretty scary a few years ago when he got in that accident and we didn’t know if he was going to be able to do this again. So, just to have him out here on the grounds and to see him around doing what he loves to do, is a lot of fun for us.” Scottie Scheffler on Tuesday.

Although Woods said he is not going to reach 50 appearances at the Masters Tournament compared to the likes of Gary Player or Arnold Palmer, he is a living legend like those two. The current players want to absorb as much time with him knowing he is at the back end of his career with the unknowing of how much he is going to play in the future.  

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