By Luke Kerr-Dineen
Tiger Woods withdrew from the tournament he’s charged with hosting this week, the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
It was a bitter blow for golf fans, ever-excited for a return of their icon, and obviously for Tiger himself.
The cause was plantar fasciitis in his right foot, an inflammatory injury resulting from the lingering damage to his right leg suffered in his February 2021 car crasg that flared up after preparing for this event.
“It was the ramping up process that did it,” Tiger said. “I did a lot of beach walks trying to simulate the sand out here and my foot just did not like that very much.”
With the only solution to “stay off my feet” Tiger’s hand was forced. He withdrew from this tournament on Monday, though said he plans to play in ‘The Match’ next week and the PNC Championship the week after that, because he can take a cart in both of those events.
Tiger was asked point-blank on Tuesday, during his pre tournament press conference at the Hero: Why doesn’t he take advantage of the PGA Tour’s disability clause, as John Daly and Casey Martin have done, and take a cart?
His response was categorical: “On the PGA Tour, no.”
Tiger played college golf at Stanford in the 1990s with Casey Martin, whose landmark 2001 victory over the tour in the US Supreme Court meant that players with a legitimate disability can take a cart in competition. But for Tiger himself, that’s a non-starter.
“My teammate was Casey Martin, and what he did with the ADA, I voted against it. I think [walking] is an integral part of the game at our level, and I will never take a golf cart until it’s sanctioned.”
Tiger says he’s fine taking a cart at The Match and the PNC because every player has the right to take one if they choose. That’s not the case in PGA Tour-sanctioned events, which includes the Hero.
“It’s sanctioned on the Champions Tour and the PNC is part of that [a PGA Tour Champions sanctioned event],” he says. “As far as a regular event, no, I would never do that.”
It’s a self-imposed line Tiger is drawing for himself, but nevertheless, that’s where he draws the line. He’s earned the right to take a cart if he wishes — many golf fans are probably rooting for him to take that option — but for Tiger, it’s simply a matter of principle.
You may also like:
Get the December 2022 edition of Golf Digest Middle East FREE here!
Tiger Woods: Greg has to go
OWGR is flawed, says Tiger
LIV Golf reveal their World Cup XI
Hero Cup line-ups announced for Ryder Cup warm-up event in Abu Dhabi
Cam Smith aims to end career-best year on a high
Is it time to abolish OWGR?
Tiger out of Hero World Challenge
Sergio’s run comes to an end
Rory thinks he gave Tiger Covid ahead of the Open
Hedwall claims Open de Espana in dramatic fashion
Emotional triumph for Cam Smith in Australia
Meet Dan Bradbury, DP World Tour’s newest surprise package