Golf

Tiger Woods ready for ‘The Match’ after pulling out of Hero

Tiger Woods ready for ‘The Match’ after pulling out of Hero
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Tiger Woods is ready to go in the latest edition of « The Match » on Saturday night, even if his right foot still isn’t fully healed.

Woods, a 15-time major champion, will team up with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy in a 12-hole match against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas under the lights at Pelican Golf Club outside Tampa, Florida.

Woods, who was forced to pull out of last week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, said being able to use a golf cart in The Match will help « a lot. »

« I can hit golf balls. It’s just hard getting from point A to point B, so [the cart] will certainly help a lot, » he said Wednesday.

Woods, 46, played just nine rounds in three major championships last season. He is still recovering from serious injuries he suffered in a car wreck outside Los Angeles in February 2021.

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« I’m able to hit golf shots, » Woods said. « JT has been out there watching me practice. … But being in a cart is a totally different deal. That’s something I’ve done at home at Medalist quite a bit. When I was trying to gear up and be able to play in the Hero and see if I could actually do it, the walking part was the challenge, it wasn’t actually swinging. »

Woods hasn’t played since missing the cut at the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews in July. He hasn’t yet said if he’ll try to play in any official PGA Tour events before the Masters in April. He is scheduled to play with his son, Charlie, in next week’s PNC Championship in Orlando.

« I’ve got to get this plantar to heal and that just takes time, » Woods said. « It’s not something that happens overnight. It’s going to take a lot of rest and healing and unfortunately treatment. It’s a tough road [for] anyone who has ever had it. »

Having McIlroy on his team will certainly help his chances of winning Saturday night. The format is best ball, in which each player plays his own ball on holes and the lowest score of the two players counts as the team score.

« I can tell you one thing: I’ve got the No. 1 player in the world on my team, so I’m good, » Woods said. « He’ll have the best cheerleader he’s ever had. »

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