The news that Tiger Woods has withdrawn from this week's Safeway Open came as a "surprise" to his friend and former teammate, Notah Begay III.
Begay was with Woods last week at the Ryder Cup, where Woods served as an assistant captain for the victorious U.S. squad. According to Begay, the 14-time major champ had his clubs with him at Hazeltine but didn't find any time to practice in between matches.
The two spoke on the phone Monday, and Begay believes that Woods' decision - which came just three days after he formally committed to the event - is the product of one last self-assessment of his game.
"The hurricane didn't help, and he had some concerns about the sharpness of his game," Begay said. "Everyone knows there's going to be rust. Everybody knows there's going to be shots that he's going to call on that might not come off the way he wanted. But after talking to him this morning, he just didn't feel like his game was where he wanted it to be to be competitive."
Begay believes that Woods' decision isn't "body-related," but added that Woods may have been having some trouble fine-tuning "in-between shots" as he prepared for his first PGA Tour appearance since the 2015 Wyndham Championship.
"I was down there about 4-5 weeks ago in Jupiter, and the full swing and everything else looked great. The short irons looked great," he said. "But as we all know, it's not just a succession of full shots that are required on the PGA Tour. You have to have the feel shots, the in-between shots. And just not having had enough time to get the reps in prior to, would probably be my guess based upon my conversations with Tiger."
Woods originally announced his intentions to play in Napa, Calif., on Sept. 7. Along with that announcement came plans to play in the European Tour's Turkish Airlines Open Nov. 3-6 as well as the Hero World Challenge, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation and will be held Dec. 1-4. Woods said in his statement on Monday that he would not compete in Turkey but anticipated playing his event in the Bahamas.