CROMWELL, Conn. – Some of the PGA Tour’s most talented players had smiles on their faces after completing their second rounds at the Travelers Championship and learning of the news that Tiger Woods will be making his return to competitive golf next week.
“I’m so pumped,” Keegan Bradley said. “It’s great news for golf and great news for the Tour. A no-Tiger Tour is not the same. … We need Tiger. The whole Tour needs Tiger and golf needs Tiger.”
“It’s good for the game of golf,” agreed Bubba Watson. “We’ve been wanting to see it. No matter if he misses the cut, no matter if he just finishes middle of the pack, it’s a great thing for golf that he’s back. It means he’s been rehabbing the right way, and the doctors feel he’s good. Normally I don’t watch golf, but I’ll watch when Tiger’s playing.”
Woods will play next week’s Quicken Loans National, less than three months after microdiscectomy surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back.
“I would say more than likely they sold one or two more tickets today – and if he had a jersey, they’d sell more jerseys,” said Watson. “I think it’s a pretty cool move that he got back for his tournament; it makes his tournament that much better.”
“It’s a different feel,” Kevin Streelman said of tournaments in which Woods plays. “Obviously, attendance is higher, excitement around the town is greater. It’s just great for golf. He’s a great ambassador, a great talent and everyone likes to watch him play.”
“I’m going to enjoy seeing Tiger back on the golf course,” Jason Day said. “He kind of pumps me up because a lot of people come out, and I like it when there’s a lot of people following. I tend to focus a lot more. I hope I get paired with him next week; that would be awesome. He’s always been my favorite golfer ever since I was playing as a junior.”
Day also offered a bit of a cautionary tale, based on his own recent early return from a thumb injury.
“I’m just hoping that he doesn’t push it too early, too soon and re-injure himself,” he explained. “I was injured for a while with my thumb injury, came back early just because of Augusta, and that kind of pushed me back two or three weeks of resting up again and trying to get back to where I was.
“As long as he’s 100 percent healthy, it’s good for him to come back. It’s good to get those competitive juices flowing again – especially playing tournament golf. There’s nothing quite like tournament golf. He definitely needs to play a tournament before Royal Liverpool.”