NASSAU, Bahamas – Whether it was just your standard cold or a physical sickness over losing $9 million to Phil Mickelson in “The Match,” no one can say.
Either way, Tiger Woods was ailing over the weekend. And that undid some good work in the weeks leading up to the showdown in Las Vegas.
Woods has a really hard time maintaining weight throughout the season because he’s always working outdoors, toiling away in the summer heat. He’s generally drenched in sweat well before he gets to the first tee.
That was a concern of his down the stretch last season and might help explain some of the apparent lethargy in Paris for the Ryder Cup.
Woods returns to stroke play tournaments this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, and he was asked Tuesday if he was able to put that weight back on in the gym over the past several weeks.
“I was until I got sick,” Woods said. “Then I lost whatever I put on.”
You could almost hear moms across the country screaming at Woods to put a jacket on once the sun went down and a serious chill lingered throughout the four-hole playoff in Las Vegas. Alas, he did not.
Even with the brief sickness, Woods looks and sounds so much better these days than he did at Le Golf National. That’s the result of a much-needed break from an unrelenting fall schedule, and he’s been focused on getting stronger. He wasn’t physically prepared to play 18 tournaments last year, but during the offseason he got back to a semi-normal lifting regimen.
“I was exhausted by the time I got to the Ryder Cup. I was worn out mentally, physically, emotionally,” Woods said. “My training sessions have been good. I’ve been getting a little bit stronger. My core and my legs are definitely stronger than they have been, which is positive. … I’ve been working more on getting my body ready to handle the rigors of long practice sessions again and getting back to that. So that’s something I’m looking forward to.”
A physical foundation has been built, and Woods is ready to put it to use and get back to working on the actual golf this week in the Bahamas. That process begins at 12:05 p.m. Thursday for his opening-round tee time with Justin Thomas.