Tiger Woods was at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo., for the announcement of the new Payne’s Valley golf course project that will be TGR Design’s first public access course. As expected, though, the topic on everyone’s mind was when the 14-time major champion would be returning to play on the PGA Tour.
“The back is progressing,” Woods said at the announcement. “I have good days and bad days. I’ve had three back operations, and that’s just kind of the nature of the business, unfortunately. That’s all I can say.”
While offering no major news on his return, Woods took a moment to take up one of the kids in the audience who challenged him to a “friendly competition.”
His first shot looked more like the Tiger from the 2016 Quicken Loans National Media Day than the golfer who won 79 times on the PGA Tour. Woods knocked his second one stiff, landing close to the pin and drawing applause from the gathered crowd.
— PGA TOUR Champions (@ChampionsTour) April 18, 2017
Notah Begay (known to many golf fans for his Tiger insight dating back to their days together at Stanford) told “The Rich Eisen Show” that he thought Woods would be returning “just after the Players Championship,” but Tiger declined to give a timetable for his return.
As for his golf course project, the Payne’s Valley Golf Course is named in honor of the late Payne Stewart and is scheduled to open in 2019. Woods’ TGR Design is collaborating with Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and the Payne Stewart family on the project.
“I couldn’t be more proud to partner with Johnny Morris to debut my first public access courses at Big Cedar Lodge,” Woods said on TigerWoods.com. “Johnny’s incredible passion for connecting people of all ages and walks of life to nature is truly inspiring. Together we’re tremendously excited to create a publicly accessible world-class golf experience in the center of America.”