Begay: Woods aware 'sun is setting' on career

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Notah Begay III said that Tiger Woods is “taking it real easy” after undergoing a second back surgery earlier this month.

Speaking on an NBC Sports conference call, Begay said that his former college teammate is “giving it a little extra time to heal up before he starts rehabilitation. He’s just spending a lot of time at home and going to soccer games and watching Sam and Charlie play their fall soccer. 

“It’s hard. It’s a challenge to be on the couch, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Woods, who turns 40 in December, is not expected to return to competition until January 2016, at the earliest.

“I think he has a clear understanding with where he’s at in regard to his career that the sun is setting,” Begay said. “He’s very fair about where he’s at with his career and his body, and he’s certainly not going to go down without a fight, without trying to do everything he can to get back to a world-class level.” 

With his world ranking projected to tumble outside the top 400 by the end of the year, Woods is a long shot to make the 2016 Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine. That prompted captain Davis Love III to suggest Tuesday that Woods or Phil Mickelson – members of the Ryder Cup task force – could serve as assistants if they don’t qualify. 

Begay said he has had discussions with Woods in the past month about the task force and whether he wants to take on a more active leadership role.

“I think he’d be a great assistant captain,” Begay said. “I think he’s the type of player that thinks through things very methodically. When it comes to individual match play in singles, there’s nobody better, and he has a wonderful singles record. I think he could impart some of that into some of the younger players and really set a good example of players that are sort of segueing into the latter parts of their career.”