How Tiger Woods single-handedly turned a slow week into a must-watch

October 20, 2019

When Tiger Woods plays golf for cash and prizes, it’s always on TV. Tiger Woods is playing golf tomorrow—you could also say tonight—for the first time since Aug. 18. Don’t expect much. But cash and prizes are being offered, so it will be on TV. And between now and next Sunday, the golf week will get more interesting.

     You can’t expect to play no competitive golf for two months, fly to the other side of the world, tee it up in a meaningless made-for-TV competition and have what Woods himself used to call his A game. But that won’t stop Golf Channel and GOLFTV from showing it live. He’ll be playing in Japan alongside Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama. Those fellas have five major titles between them. Woods has 15.

     If you liked The Match eleven months ago, Tiger v. Phil in Vegas, you’ll probably like event in Japan, too. Team Mickelson practically invented that Thanksgiving weekend confab last year, and this year the star lefthander is on the bench. It hardly seems fair. Mickelson is now looking to create other opportunities.

It has been suggested that he and Donald Trump are planning a match for the presidency. That is illogical and not true. What would Trump get out of it? He already is the president. But Phil will have something before too long here.

     As for Woods’s A game, the last time it was seen was when he nutted that drive on 17 at Augusta in the fourth round, seven months ago. He hates that shot and he needed that shot. He needs today’s event, called “The Challenge, Japan Skins,” a GOLFTV production, available for viewing in these United States on Golf Channel, in a different way.

     As part of his deal with GOLFTV, Woods is obligated to appear in an unknown number of hours of GOLFTV programming. Every time he is interviewed by Henni Zuel of GOLFTV, the meter is running and Woods is getting closer to his number. Put him down for another five hours for The Challenge.

     Tonight’s event, for Woods, really is about GOLFTV. His contract with GOLFTV looms large in his life. Woods has done only one interview about winning his fifth green coat win since leaving Augusta National on Masters Sunday, and that interview was a GOLFTV production. The interview was conducted by Henni Zuel and it lasted 28 minutes, but Woods likely got credit for an even half-hour. It’s an excellent interview, by the way, but too short.

     Woods will surely have more to say about that Masters win in his memoir, Back. No publication date has been announced. In the interest of synergy, GOLFTV could film Woods while he is writing his book. That could be interesting.

     A quick nod to the AP Stylebook: It’s always awkward for American publications to make time references to live events occurring in Japan, along with all of Asia and Australia and the like, as America’s today is often Asia’s tomorrow. The Challenge, Japan Skins, will begin on Monday at 1 p.m., local time in Japan. Golf Channel’s coverage of the event begins at 11 p.m. on Sunday on the East Coast, 9 p.m. Mountain Time, 8 p.m. West Coast Time, an hour before the players are due on the first tee, and while they are on the driving range and practice green.

     By Thursday—Thursday in Japan—Woods will have his real game face on. No, not Masters real, but pretty real. That’s when the first round of the Zozo Championship begins at the Narashino Country Club composite course, the same course where the skins event will be played. The Zozo is the first PGA Tour event ever being played in Japan. Justin Thomas is in it, as is Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Gary Woodland, Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, various other fan favorites. The four guys from The Challenge. Pat Perez! Everybody but Brooks Koepka.

     There are 78 players total on a short, lush course, and the winner gets $1.75 million. Beating other guys and playing for a big check has been Woods’s MO his entire career, but at this event he’ll have something more at stake.

     Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late August and while such surgeries are not considered to be major, there is no minor surgery when you’re 43, you’ve had a long history of left-knee issues, and your name is Tiger Woods. The Zozo will be the first time Woods will see how his whole body feels, lower back, left knee and everything else.

     As the captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team, which will play at Royal Melbourne in December, where our today is often there tomorrow, Woods will select four players to fill out the 12-man roster in early November. He is certainly a candidate to make his own team. If he contends in the Zozo, he’ll almost surely select himself. If he wins, he definitely will. If he shoots 300, he almost definitely will not. There would of course be more interest in the Presidents Cup, an event that has struggled to find a place in the rooting heart of the world’s golf fans, would only be more interesting this year if Woods is playing. All of Ponte Vedra Beach will be watching closely.

     On Sunday—that is, Sunday in Japan—Tiger did an event with kids at a Nike store in Tokyo. He was wearing Nike sneakers and a black T-shirt that read I AM TIGER WOODS. He looked just great and when he chased after a ball with a bunch of young Japanese kids around him he looked like a guy who could run a sub-20 5K.

     He’s going to break 300 in the Zozo, named for a fashion retailing company in Japan. Aside from that, it’s hard to say, except this: Tiger Woods has taken a quiet week in the October golf calendar and made it interesting. Only he could do that.

 

Michael Bamberger may be reached at[email protected].

When Tiger Woods plays golf for cash and prizes, it’s always on TV.

Tiger Woods is playing golf tomorrow—you could also say tonight—for the first time since Aug. 18.  Don’t expect much. But cash and prizes are being offered, so it will be on TV. And between now and next Sunday, the golf week will get more interesting.

You can’t expect to play no competitive golf for two months, fly to the other side of the world, tee it up in a meaningless made-for-TV competition and have what Woods himself used to call his A game. But that won’t stop Golf Channel and GOLFTV from showing it live. He’ll be playing in Japan alongside Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama. Those fellas have five major titles between them. Woods has 15.

If you liked The Match eleven months ago, Tiger v. Phil in Vegas, you’ll probably like the event in Japan, too. Team Mickelson practically invented that Thanksgiving weekend confab last year, and this year the star lefthander is on the bench. It hardly seems fair. Mickelson is now looking to create other opportunities.
It has been suggested that he and Donald Trump are planning a match for the presidency. That is illogical and not true. What would Trump get out of it? He already is the president. But Phil will have something before too long here.

As for Woods’s A game, the last time it was seen was when he nutted that drive on 17 at Augusta in the fourth round, seven months ago. He hates that shot and he needed that shot. He needs today’s event, called “The Challenge: Japan Skins,” a GOLFTV production, available for viewing in these United States on Golf Channel, in a different way.


As part of his deal with GOLFTV, Woods is obligated to appear in an unknown number of hours of GOLFTV programming. Every time he is interviewed by Henni Zuel of GOLFTV, the meter is running and Woods is getting closer to his number. Put him down for another five hours for The Challenge.

Tonight’s event, for Woods, really is about GOLFTV. His contract with GOLFTV looms large in his life. Woods has done only one interview about winning his fifth green coat win since leaving Augusta National on Masters Sunday, and that interview was a GOLFTV production. The interview was conducted by Henni Zuel and it lasted 28 minutes, but Woods likely got credit for an even half-hour. It’s an excellent interview, by the way, but too short.

Woods will surely have more to say about that Masters win in his memoir, Back. No publication date has been announced. In the interest of synergy, GOLFTV could film Woods while he is writing his book. That could be interesting.

A quick nod to the AP Stylebook: It’s always awkward for American publications to make time references to live events occurring in Japan, along with all of Asia and Australia and the like, as America’s today is often Asia’s tomorrow. The Challenge, Japan Skins, will begin on Monday at 1 p.m., local time in Japan. Golf Channel’s coverage of the event begins at 11 p.m. on Sunday on the East Coast, 9 p.m. Mountain Time, 8 p.m. West Coast Time, an hour before the players are due on the first tee, and while they are on the driving range and practice green.

By Thursday—Thursday in Japan—Woods will have his real game face on. No, not Masters real, but pretty real. That’s when the first round of the Zozo Championship begins at the Narashino Country Club composite course, the same course where the skins event will be played. The Zozo is the first PGA Tour event ever being played in Japan. Justin Thomas is in it, as is Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Matthew Wolff, Gary Woodland, Shane Lowry, Tommy Fleetwood, various other fan favorites. The four guys from The Challenge. Pat Perez! Everybody but Brooks Koepka.

There are 78 players total on a short, lush course, and the winner gets $1.75 million. Beating other guys and playing for a big check has been Woods’s MO his entire career, but at this event he’ll have something more at stake.

Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late August and while such surgeries are not considered to be major, there is no minor surgery when you’re 43, you’ve had a long history of left-knee issues, and your name is Tiger Woods. The Zozo will be the first time Woods will see how his whole body feels, lower back, left knee and everything else.

As the captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup team, which will play at Royal Melbourne in December, where our today is often their tomorrow, Woods will select four players to fill out the 12-man roster in early November.

He is certainly a candidate to make his own team. If he contends in the Zozo, he’ll almost surely select himself. If he wins, he definitely will. If he shoots 300, he almost definitely will not. There would of course be more interest in the Presidents Cup, an event that has struggled to find a place in the rooting heart of the world’s golf fans, if Woods is playing. All of Ponte Vedra Beach will be watching closely.

On Sunday—that is, Sunday in Japan—Tiger did an event with kids at a Nike store in Tokyo. He was wearing Nike sneakers and a black T-shirt that read “I AM TIGER WOODS.” He looked just great and when he chased after a ball with a bunch of young Japanese kids around him he looked like a guy who could run a sub-20 5K.

He’s going to break 300 in the Zozo, named for a fashion retailing company in Japan. Aside from that, it’s hard to say, except this: Tiger Woods has taken a quiet week in the October golf calendar and made it interesting. Only he could do that.

Michael Bamberger may be reached at [email protected]