From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Jack Nicklaus gives his best guess on Tiger’s return to golf

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Since coming on tour back in 1996, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have enjoyed a friendship of sorts that seems to cross over the vast age difference between the two giants of golf.

While we’ve never seen them hang out off the course, you can tell from the way Nicklaus has interacted with Woods on the course that he has a special place in his heart for the game’s best player. While that relationship may be a tad bit strained after Woods’ recent issues, there’s still part of me that wants to believe that Nicklaus will be there if Tiger ever needs an ear. (I’m sure that’s just wishful thinking at this juncture.)

While Nicklaus knows as much about Tiger’s day-to-day life as the next guy on tour, that didn’t stop him from making a prediction of when Woods would make his return to the game. “It would surprise me if he didn’t [play],” Nicklaus said Wednesday. “Oh yeah, I can’t imagine in a hundred years he is going to miss Augusta.”

While Augusta seemed like a long-shot after Woods’ press conference, it would now appear the he’s readying himself for a the first major of the year. Word came out earlier this week that Woods was already home from counseling in Arizona, and was working hard on getting back into “golf shape” — a statement that should have the rest of the golf world on high alert.

The Florida swing would make perfect sense for a Woods return to the game. Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have always shared a close relationship, so it’d be no surprise to see Woods commit to Arnie’s event; stay inside the Bay Hill gates, away from the press; and make the return at a tournament he’s won five times in the past ten years.

That would still give him enough time to play the Tavistock Cup the week prior to Bay Hill and get in a tour event as well to prepare for Augusta. What seemed less likely a couple weeks now seems very feasible.

Who knows for sure, but maybe Jack knows something we don’t about Tiger’s return.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

03/04/2010 at 4:36 pm

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