As if the speculation of an imminent Tiger Woods return needed any more bolstering Mark O'Meara last night said he “would not be surprised” if the world No1 decides to play on his team at the Tavistock Cup in 12 days time.
O'Meara, who has been Woods' closest professional confidante in his 14 years on Tour, is captain of the Isleworth side in the two-day exhibition match which takes place on the same gated-community complex as Woods' Florida home. And when speaking to the Golf Channel yesterday, the two-time major winner sounded as if he anticipated Woods ending his “indefinite break” from the game a week Monday.
“I would not be surprised if Tiger plays,” said O'Meara, who also lives at Isleworth. “Hank [Haney, his coach] has come to town and they're working on stuff they normally work on. I know it's been a rough road these last three months for him and his family, but golf is what Tiger does. The Tavistock Cup might be a right fit to come back. Play that event and then, maybe, Bay Hill straight afterwards.”
Bookmakers have stopped taking bets on Woods returning before next month's Masters at Augusta. Despite the 34-year-old expressing uncertainty as to when he would come back in his television statement two weeks ago, Woods has reportedly completed his rehab for sex addiction and resumed full practice.
O'Meara, who introduced Haney to Woods, believes his friend has ample time to reach his standard before the Tavistock Cup and then later that week the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.“It wouldn't take them too long,” said O'Meara. “I would imagine a few weeks Tiger would be good to go.” The clock is ticking.