After Further Review: Woods keeping options open


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On rumors of Tiger Woods' return ...

Depending on which Twitter thread, hotel reservation log or tea leaf you read, Tiger Woods will come back sometime in the next seven months: at The Players, Memorial, Quicken Loans National or World Challenge. Thing is, not even Woods himself knows at this point.

In the past, sure, he could be accused of withholding information just to reassert his dominion over the game. But that doesn’t seem like the case here. He looks and sounds genuinely unsure when he’ll play again, as he recovers from his third back surgery in the past two years.

There are several factors in play, but the threat of re-injury looms large – it would render his months of hard work meaningless and send him to the sidelines for good. With so much at stake, can you really blame him for, quite literally, keeping each and every option open? – Ryan Lavner

On John Daly turning 50 ...

John Daly turned 50 on Thursday, which means the PGA Tour Champions gets a much-needed shot in the arm next week. Daly will make his debut on the over-50 circuit at next week’s Insperity Invitational, a second chance the two-time major champion has been thinking about for some time.

For the PGA Tour Champions, however, it could be an even more beneficial mulligan. As evidenced by the reaction of fans to Daly as he prepares for the next phase of his eventful life, the often-troubled star still connects with a unique portion of the golf world. It’s a portion of the populace that suddenly has a reason to pay attention. – Rex Hoggard

On Jim Furyk's return at Quail Hollow ...

Jim Furyk hasn't been on the PGA Tour since withdrawing from last year's BMW Championship with a wrist injury. The injury led to surgery, and now Furyk will return this week at Quail Hollow and no doubt have one goal in mind – getting ready for the U.S. Open at Oakmont.

Furyk came agonizingly close to winning in front of a home crowd in 2007, the last time the U.S. Open was held at Oakmont. He was No. 7 in the world when he landed on the disabled list, and the soon-to-be 46-year-old has proven he still has plenty of game left. Let's hope his wrist won't keep him from a run at a Cinderella story in June. – Ryan Reiterman

On the youth movement in the LPGA ...

The youth movement continues in the women’s game with Jenny Shin breaking through to win her first LPGA title Sunday at 23 years, 6 months and 24 days old. Remarkably, through 11 events this year, Ha Na Jang remains the oldest winner. She was 23 years, 10 months and 4 days old when she won the HSBC Women’s Champions in February.

This year’s winners: Hyo Joo Kim (20) at Pure Silk Bahamas, Jang (23) at Coates Golf Championship, Haru Nomura (23) at Women’s Australian Open, Lexi Thompson (21) at Honda LPGA Thailand, Jang (23) at HSBC Women’s Champions, Sei Young Kim (23) at Founders Cup, Lydia Ko (18) at Kia Classic, Ko (18) at ANA Inspiration, Minjee Lee (19) at Lotte Championship, Nomura (23) at Swinging Skirts Classic and Shin (23) at Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. - Randall Mell

On Bhavik Patel's comeback from suspension ...

Bhavik Patel has yet to play in a PGA Tour event, but that streak will likely end in a few months.

Patel raced out to an early lead at this week’s Tour stop in Indiana, and while he faded over the weekend he still finished T-18. That marked his third top-20 finish in his last four starts, a run that was sparked by a runner-up finish in Brazil last month. He currently sits 11th on the season-long money list, with the top 25 earners receiving PGA Tour cards for the 2016-17 season.

If the name sounds oddly familiar, that’s because last year Patel became just the second player ever to be suspended under the PGA Tour’s anti-doping policy. He was suspended for a year for what he described as a “lapse in judgment” that occurred while he was trying to overcome an injury, and the 25-year-old went nearly 18 months in between competitive appearances as a result.

While many players might need a few starts to kick off the rust, Patel has quickly become a mainstay on Tour leaderboards early this season. Should he keep up the pace, he could have a tee time on the big stage by this fall – a notion that seemed unlikely a year ago. – Will Gray