On the heels of Thursday’s news that Tiger Woods was back to practicing again after back surgery, The Golf Channel is quoting sources as saying that Woods is hoping to return for the British Open Championship in July. Woods underwent his surgery in late March, causing him to miss the Masters in April and most certainly the U.S. Open in June.
This year’s British Open, or simply the Open as many in the game know it, will be played at Royal Liverpool. If Tiger Woods makes it back for the Open it would be a good place to begin his comeback, as he won the Claret Jug the last time the tournament was played there, in 2006. At this time the only official word is from Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, who would say only that Tiger is hoping to return sometime in the summer. Steinberg’s comments came in an interview with ESPN.com. When Steinberg was reached today by The Golf Channel he would only reaffirm what he said Thursday: “Absolutely no target date” is set at this time.
Woods experienced pain in his back during the Honda Classic that was so intense he had to withdraw during the final round. He attempted to play the following week at the WGC Cadillac Championship and even contended after firing 66 in the third round. Even though he finished the event, he was clearly bothered by his back in the final round and he faded with 78 on Sunday. When Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational two weeks later it was clear that his injury was not going to go away.
In news of PGA players who are playing, 26-year old Ben Martin leads the Zurich Classic in New Orleans after two rounds. Martin fired 67 today to go with his course-record 62 on Thursday for a three-shot lead at 15 under par. He could have led my more, except for a double bogey on the final hole at TPC Louisiana on Friday.
Andrew Svoboda is alone in second place at 12 under par. He trailed by two shots after the first round, shot 68 on Friday, and lost a stroke to the lead. Third place is shared by Robert Streb and Korea’s Seung-Yul Noh at 11 under, and Erik Compton and Peter Hanson finished their second rounds at 10 under par. In other scores of interest, Keegan Bradley and Charley Hoffman are each at nine under, with David Duval in the mix at seven under.
On the LPGA circuit, the women are playing the inaugural Swinging Skirts Classic in San Francisco. Stacy Lewis has a pair of three-under-par 69s for the lead after the second round at six under par. She is one shot ahead of 15-year-old Lydia Ko of New Zealand and Karine Icher of France. Mika Miyazato of Japan and Koreans Il Hee Lee and Inbee Park are two more strokes back at three under. Last week’s Lotte Championship winner, Michelle Wie, shot 72 in each of the first two rounds and she is six shots back at even par.
Golf Shots is a daily series which provides analysis and commentary on the PGA tour and golf-related topics all year long.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky