Each week, our writers review the week's happenings in the world of golf. In this edition of After Further Review, they examine what we should take from Tiger Woods' return to action, what Stacy Lewis' win this week means for women's golf, and how we miss the old Open Championship qualifying system.
Let’s review Tiger Woods’ week: He admittedly returned from back surgery too soon to benefit a tournament run by his foundation; he admittedly was rusty entering the opening round; and he admittedly didn’t have his best stuff in posting scores of 74-75.
What I don’t understand is why, in the aftermath of his 10th career missed cut, there was a prevailing narrative that this performance somehow proved something. That we learned post-surgery Woods is a shell of his previous self, that he’s more likely to miss cuts going forward than win titles.
Sorry, but all I learned during what was essentially a rehab start is that Woods was pleased with his physical condition and optimistic about his game afterward. And that’s all I needed to know.
Maybe he’ll soon again resemble the No. 1 player who won five times last year; maybe he’ll struggle to regain that form. Nothing, though, that happened this week should have served as a predictor of future performance. – Jason Sobel
Everyone wants to know now whether Tiger Woods will be a factor at the upcoming Open Championship – in fact, four radio-show hosts asked me that very question this weekend.
His score in D.C. was ugly, his scrambling even worse, but at least he emerged physically unscathed. (We think.) If history is any indication, though, it was the first few miles in what surely will be a long journey. No two surgeries are alike, of course, but a few years ago Graham DeLaet underwent a microdiscectomy and needed a full year to recover. Even now he doesn’t think he’ll ever be 100 percent again.
Tiger looked pain-free during his 36-hole tour at Congressional, which is a start, but he is still learning how to play (and practice) with his rebuilt body. Woods has defied the odds before, but a quick fix – and a quick victory – after this surgery might be wishful thinking. – Ryan Lavner
Was there ever any doubt that Stacy Lewis would make that birdie putt on the 72nd hole Sunday? Not around GolfChannel.com HQ, there wasn't. A bunch of us were trying to come up with a word to describe Lewis, and we rather quickly settled on "relentless." Yes, Michelle Wie had a four-shot advantage on Lewis going into the final round of the 54-hole event, but Lewis went right to work, shaving a stroke on the very first hole. Later, when Wie fell into a tie for the lead, Lewis was a stroke behind, but no one was counting her out. The Texan and the Hawaiian live near each other in Florida now, and their rivalry holds promise for years to come. And yes, that's not even counting challenges from the likes of Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, Suzann Pettersen and Inbee Park. This truly is shaping up as a new golden age for women's golf. - Al Tays
While the new qualifying system for the Open Championship may have added a level of intrigue to the four players who punched their tickets to Royal Liverpool on Sunday at the Quicken Loans National, it still lacks the romantic appeal of the old way. Before R&A officials concocted this most recent qualifying series, which awards spots in the Open to the top four previously unqualified players who finish within the top 12 at the Quicken Loans National and next week’s Greenbrier Classic, and the International Final Qualifiers, players would venture to the United Kingdom to take their chances the Sunday before the championship in a true open qualifier. While logistically difficult for some players, the old way always delivered more than its share of Cinderella stories and much more drama. - Rex Hoggard