Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ryder return to cap comeback seasonFilm school back on agenda

Ryder return to cap comeback seasonFilm school back on agenda

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tiger Woods reacts on the 18th green during the third round of the BMW Championship at Aronimink Golf Club on September 8 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. AFP

Ryder return to cap comeback seasonFilm school back on agenda

Playing in the Ryder Cup will be the culmination of an amazing comeback season for Tiger Woods, one the 14-time major champion feared might never happen after back surgery.

The 42-year-old American has shown flashes of the form that made him golf’s dominant player in younger days in his first campaign after spinal fusion surgery, a last-gasp operation to try and extend his legendary career.

“It was a last-ditch effort,” Woods said. “I tried everything else because fusion is the last-ditch effort and nothing beyond that. So didn’t know what my playing career would be like. This is all uncharted territory.”

So far, Woods’ performances are steadily improving and the medical charts are showing no back issues after years of nagging problems.

Woods has hit drives longer than his youthful days, led the British Open in the final round in July, finished second in last month’s PGA Championship and fired a 62 earlier this month, his lowest US PGA opening round since the 1999 Byron Nelson Classic.

And the former world No1 achieved his goal of securing a Ryder Cup captain’s pick from Jim Furyk, who pulled him from a planned assistant captain’s role after seeing the quality of his game.

“Deep down, I wanted to make the team. I really wanted to play on it,” Woods said. “I had not started playing golf really yet, but still, it was a goal at the end of the season to make this team.

“As the year progressed, I gained some traction and was somehow able to get some high finishes and lo and behold, I’m a part of this team. It’s incredible, it really is, to look back at the start of the year and to have accomplished a goal like that. To be a player is just beyond special.”

‘One of my best years’

Woods still hasn’t won a major since the 2008 US Open and hasn’t won any event in more than five years, but has rediscovered the joy of playing after fears it might never happen again.

“It’s about enjoying being back,” Woods said. “Enjoying being able to play golf again. Competing at this level. All of these things at the beginning of the year were all unknowns. It has been one of my best years as a whole.

“To have a winless year, but to go through what I’ve gone through – I didn’t know if I was ever going to play again, I was just hoping to be able to play with my kids and golf with my buddies – this has been a blessing.

“It has been so special to have this opportunity again. I’m certainly not taking it for granted, that’s for sure.”

Woods went into spinal fusion fearing his chronic back pain might linger for life.

“I had resigned [myself] to it because I had lived in a pretty difficult situation for a while. I just wanted the pain to go away,” Woods said. “It was painful sitting, laying, moving, anything. It was just constant pain in my back and down my leg. Anything beyond that was going to be a plus considering where I was coming from, and so to get to where I’m at, I never thought that was going to happen.”

Next wins ‘coming soon’

Now Woods, who had 79 career PGA titles, hasn’t given up his quest to reach the record 18 major wins of Jack Nicklaus or Sam Snead’s all-time PGA mark of 82.

“In order to get to Jack’s record, I have to pass Snead’s record. Just simple math,” Woods said. “And I want to make that happen. I’m close. I have been close to winning tournaments this year. I think if I keep giving myself opportunities, I’ll get the job done.

“I feel my next wins are coming soon. How soon, I don’t know, but I’m putting myself in tournaments now so I’m not that far away from getting it done.”

Woods, whose first major title came at the 1997 Masters, has seen huge support from crowds at events, his amazing shotmaking at an older age sparking roars and cheers rivaling those of his youth.

“People are more appreciative,” Woods said. “They know that I’m at the tail end of my career and I don’t know how many more years I have left. I’m certainly not like I was when I was 22 – 42, it’s a different ballgame.”

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea