I think it was more a case of Tiger being ready to play again in his mind. The WGC event will be a little less grueling initially (which is not to say it can’t become grueling later on if he winds up playing seven matches), because you’re not always having to play out every match or hole. He could win his first match Wednesday in 14 holes. The other thing is that if he does make it all the way to Sunday and win, it’s like playing two tournaments. Add that to Doral and Bay Hill and he’ll be well-prepped heading into Augusta.
A lot of people have asked me if I think Tiger will have to make any adjustments to his swing to take the pressure off his surgically repaired left knee, or if he’ll be the same player after his nine-month hiatus from competition. First of all, you can’t make the assumption that he has to radically change anything in his swing. He could have hurt his knee a lot of different ways (the report is he tore his ACL running in the summer of 2007), not just playing golf. Also, Tiger made sure he took enough time to get his knee rehabbed, and then get his game in shape. I worked with a guy, Sean Cain, who had a similar surgery and once his knee was rehabbed, he was out playing golf again. He didn’t care what he shot, he was just happy to be on the course. Tiger’s knee could have been fully healed three months ago, but he took his time and made sure his game was ready.
Will he win next week? Why not? The thing about Tiger is that he’s always over-performing. He ALWAYS makes the putt on No. 18. What would make anyone think that he wouldn’t over-perform next week? It wouldn’t be surprised if he won his first four tournaments out.
The guy is a beast and I think he’s going to continue to play like a beast. I think he’s been playing these guys with a bum knee for a lot longer than people think. This guy is just a phenomenal athlete—not just a great golfer, but a tremendous athlete.