Tulsa, Okla. For Tiger Woods, what matters more than anything else is the Grand Slam tournaments and the legacy we leave behind.
It was an opinion he asserted on Tuesday as he fired a stock at Phil Mickelson and his support for a Saudi-funded golf organization resulted in “Lefty” losing the championship, of which he was the title holder.
As Woods resumes his impressive comeback from a car accident 15 months ago that nearly amputated his right leg, the PGA Championship cannot escape Mickelson’s absence and the speculation surrounding the identities of golfers who could join the new Saudi-backed Greg Norman. golf series.
Woods said he has not attempted to reach out to Mickelson since the latter moved away from the golf course three months ago, due in large part to their disagreements over how to direct golf.
I understand there may be different points of view, but I believe in the legacy he left behind. I believe in the big leagues. I believe in notable events, in comparisons to historical figures from the past,” Woods said.
“There is a lot of money here,” he added. The circle is in full expansion. But it’s like any other sport – it’s like tennis – you have to go out and win it. You have to go out there and play to win it. We have the opportunity to go ahead and do that. It’s just that it’s not guaranteed up front. »
Last Friday, Mickelson decided not to participate in the PGA Championship, presented at the Southern Hills track. He thus missed the opportunity to win the tribute to his historic victory last year when, at the age of 50, he became the oldest golfer to win a Grand Slam tournament.
He is the first PGA Championship winner not to defend his title since Woods was recovering from knee surgery in 2008 and was unable to appear at the Oakland Hills course.
“It’s always disappointing when the champions are not here,” Woods said. Phil said things that many of us who have been involved in the ring and in the legacy of the ring have spoken against, and he took time for himself, and we all understand that. But I think some of his views on how the circle should be run, should be managed, created a lot of disagreement.
“He just takes his time, and we wish him all the best.”
Meanwhile, Woods is back and showing more optimism than he did a month ago at the Masters. He said those close to him were thrilled to see him walk the 72 holes of Augusta National.
It was the first time he had walked while participating in a competition since the accident on February 23, 2021 in Los Angeles, which shattered the bones in his right leg and right ankle.
All he cared about the next day was his poor performance on the Greens resulting in a score of 78 in the third and fourth rounds.
“I didn’t see it that way on Monday. I was a little unhappy because I didn’t play well on the greens, I felt like I was hitting the ball well enough and I wish I was in my physical condition.”
Woods admitted that the Monday after the Masters was a tough day to recover. Then he returned to work hoping to gain strength and stamina.
“It’s better than the last time I played in a tournament, which is a good thing,” he said.
Woods is the defending PGA Championship title at the Southern Hills, winning a two-stroke in 2007 in 13 of 15 Grand Slam victories.
The main challenge lies in front of the golfers he will try to defeat, who are the strongest team in the major tournaments. Woods is 46 and a year ago Mickelson proved that age is just a number.
However, Mickelson has been involved in an entire schedule. Woods, with his injuries, could be limited to four majors this year, at most.
The Southern Hills Trail features steep inclines from the first and tenth tees, and tough climbs at the end of both halves of the track. For the rest, walking doesn’t try much.
Woods acknowledges that some days are tough. He points out that it is not as easy as it might seem.
“But I feel like I’m getting better. There are more days that are better and more positive.”