Tiger Woods will have to overcome a great deal in his latest return to the game, including what golf legend Gary Player calls the “cancer of golf.”
Following three back surgeries, more than 16 months off between official PGA Tour events and the assertation that Father Time is still undefeated, Woods will also prove that he has overcome an affliction that few in the game have ever been able to shake: the yips.
Ailing Tiger Woods is suffering from an affliction far more destructive than the back spasm that led to him withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic on Friday, golfing great Gary Player has claimed.
“The thing that concerns me about Tiger’s comeback, which nobody is saying much about, is when he was playing a little while ago, he had the yips very badly with the chipping,” said the nine-time major champion Player, ahead of his second annual Gary Player Invitational in the UAE at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi on Monday. “He was hitting a chip shot in front of him or hitting it over the green. I am so used to seeing him having a chip and he puts the ball two feet from the hole.
“To see him chipping the way he does, there’s no way he can win. No way at all.
“If he’d never have had another lesson after winning the (2000) U.S. Open by 15 shots, I firmly believe he would have gone on and broken every conceivable record in the game,” he said. “A man called Henry Longhurst, the greatest TV announcer that ever lived, said something interesting: “When you get the yips, you die with the yips.” Very few people recover from the yips.
“If you look at Ernie Els, he had this beautiful golf swing, but he got the yips. Look at him in the past 40 tournaments. He’s really struggled to make the cut.
“The yips is a destroyer; it’s the cancer of golf. Everybody I know got it. Only Jack Nicklaus and I didn’t and I don’t know why. I can’t explain it.”
He added grimly: “I don’t think he’ll win another major, but I sincerely hope he does. Nothing would give me a greater thrill than Tiger winning another major, but it’s an awfully big task. He has a monumental challenge ahead.”
Woods has never copped to having contracted the yips, instead insisting that he was caught between two distinctly different swing patterns that made “finding the bottom” of his swing path difficult. Since his return at the Hero World Challenge this past December, the full-blown chipping problems that he exhibited in 2015 were largely
Since his return at the Hero World Challenge this past December, the full-blown chipping problems that he exhibited in 2015 were largely non-existent, but there have been some squirrely results. The more Woods plays, the more we will see just how afflicted he still may be.