#AskAlan: Will Tiger Woods play the Hero World Challenge?

Tiger posts one (albeit cool) video and the whole world loses its mind. To wit:

“Over/under that 80% of the questions here will be Big Cat related? #askalan” -Jackson (@BiggieSchmahlz)

Take the under, but just.

“How many times have you watched Tiger hit the stinger?” -Steve (@_SMisner)

Five or six. That’s about average, right? It’s an intriguing swing, but what made the post so epic was how out-of-character it was. Tiger has no game on social media so to drop it in slo-mo, with a jaunty hashtag, well, no wonder the Internet melted.

“If you posted a golf shot then hashtagged a random movie, which would you chose and why? #AskAlan” -Chris (@ctimmerman35)

If I have to pick one actual golf shot I’ve hit, it’d have to be from about five years ago, on the 18th hole at Cypress Point. (I know, I know.) I was off in the right trees, as always. I was in a death match with Matt Ginella—all square on the last, with him safely in the fairway. At the top of the treeline there was a little window about 6′ by 6’—if I could hit a high, slinging hook out of a funky lie I thought I had a chance to reach the green. The shot came out absolutely perfect and my ball whipsawed onto the putting surface, pin-high. I’m not sure I could do it again if I tried 100 times. Ginella was so shook he thinned his approach shot long and right. I made par, he made bogey and I collected some folding money. It might not be the best shot of my life but given the setting and the chirpy opponent, it has to be the most satisfying. Hashtag? #ReturnOfTheMack.

“In Dec ’15 a buddy bet me $1K that Tiger would win on Tour in the next two years. I took the bet. After his latest video am I safe ? #AskAlan” -Rob (@robsausa)

Put it this way: If I were you, I would proceed directly to the nearest champagne room.

“You get to pick Tiger’s pre-Masters schedule. Assuming he’s healthy enough, what events do you tell him to play?” [email protected]

That’s a massive assumption, but I’ll play along. If he can piece together a workable swing, the biggest challenge for Tiger is going to be scraping together some confidence, given the on-course horrors he’s lived through over the last three years. So I’d go heavy on places where he has good memories: Torrey, Pebble, Riv. He needs another start ahead of Bay Hill, so why not a goodwill journey to Puerto Rico, if, in fact, that tournament goes forward. And I’d like to see him play Houston the week before the Masters—tournament reps are the most important thing right now.

“Would Sergio putting the green jacket on Tiger be the greatest “trophy” ceremony of all time? -Matt (@M_Sand09)

Well, given their twisted history, I’m actually thinking it might be a little awkward. But, were Tiger to win the Masters, it would be the greatest achievement in sports history. I mean, think how far he’s fallen—all the surgeries, the public humiliations, the awful golf he’s played since 2013…if he were to win the Puerto Rico Open at 41 it would be a crowning achievement. To win the Masters a decade removed from his last major championship triumph and do it as an average-length hitter with a deteriorating putting stroke and the chip yips lurking, well, that would be absolutely mind-boggling.

“If Tiger never really makes any sort of comeback what role could he play going forward for the greatest benefit of the game? #askalan” [email protected]_tv

For the game, or humanity? I recently read that opioid overdoses have now surpassed car accidents as a cause of death in this country. The victims are mostly nameless and faceless. What if Tiger made this his signature cause, and used his considerable influence and energy and charisma to advocate for change? He’s been to the precipice and stared into the void. He knows what havoc can be wrought by painkillers and prescription meds. Who better to talk honestly and openly about it? Obviously this would take Tiger out of his comfort zone, but that’s how you know it’s a good idea. Otherwise, he’s just gonna keep building fancy golf courses and hanging out at Cups, which is of marginal help to the sport.

“What’s your dream gimmick for an HSBC Champions pre-tourney PR photo shoot and with whom?” [email protected]

Honestly, it’s hard to imagine topping that DJ-Peter Pan shizz. But I’d love to see Patrick Reed try to jump a gaping canyon on a motorcycle, Evel Knievel style. Or, more realistically, how about a Ping Pong match between Phil and Kuch, in a stadium full of fans? Their appearance fees become the pot, and it’s brought into the stadium in a wheelbarrow full of gold coins. I would probably enjoy that more than the actual tournament.

“As a fan, not a writer, do you care about the Fall Series?” [email protected]

I care more as a fan than a writer. It’s nice to have some golf to watch whilst plopped on my couch, and I enjoy the live night-time action from Asia. But the tournaments are largely meaningless, and this lack of dramatic tension means they hold no appeal to write about.

“Did Cypress have to change its membership policies to host the Walker Cup? – Sujeet (@sindap)

No, it has the requisite number of hyphenated Americans along with female members. (CPC was basically created by Marion Hollins, so women have always been welcomed there.) In 1990, when the course dropped out of the Clambake rota, there were already a smattering of minorities being vetted for membership. But the club is old-school in the extreme and didn’t want to be told how to conduct its business, particularly on membership issues. So rather than fast-track anyone into the club, Cypress simply dropped out of sight. But eventually all of those non-white males got in, and so now the makeup of the membership is a non-issue when it comes to hosting tournaments.

“Besides your published books, what is required reading for golf fiction? Top 5?” -Todd (@Titleist_TB)

Solid brown-nosing! My five:

1. Dead Solid Perfect, by Dan Jenkins
2. Golf in the Kingdom, by Michael Murphy
3. The Match, by Mark Frost
4. Missing Links, by Rick Reilly
5. Tommy’s Honor, by Kevin Cook

Will Tiger play in the Hero?” -Todd (@scottbrown198)

Gawd, you people won’t quit. My answer is, I hope not. A few weeks ago he was practically on bedrest. Why rush back to play, and potentially shatter what little confidence he has left? Of course, judging by this #AskAlan, there remains an insane amount of interest in the guy. So, selfishly, maybe Tiger should play, because that will certainly liven up the holiday season.