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DEREK LAWRENSON: Tiger Woods’ silence is deafening … we haven’t had an official update since March

Amid a series of recent announcements about Tiger Woods, one newsletter has remained absent: How the heck is he?

We’ve heard about the inspiring role he played behind the scenes at the Ryder Cup. We’ve seen some nostalgic footage about the 25th anniversary of his first win on the Las Vegas tour.

On their website, they have celebrated a similar milestone for their founding with a beautiful story of a boy from humble beginnings who graduated through one of their programs and is now training to be a flight mechanic.

We haven't had an official update on Tiger Woods' recovery since March

We haven’t had an official update on Tiger Woods’ recovery since March

On Twitter and Instagram, where we usually hear their news these days, we have been informed about the top-notch field that has gathered for their 20-man invitational event in the Bahamas in December, including Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy. .

There is only one problem with all these updates. It inevitably leads us to wonder about the health of the man who remains, for miles, the biggest name in sport.

The last official statement was in March, a month after the horrible car accident in Los Angeles where he nearly lost his life. “I will recover at home and work to strengthen myself every day,” the statement concluded.

A couple of weeks ago, there was an encouraging photo, albeit clearly taken without permission, of him watching his son Charley practicing for a junior tournament, stick in hand. Tiger, along with his longtime girlfriend Erica, wore a medical sleeve on their right leg, which suffered the brunt of the punishment when their truck hurtled through a bank.

There was an encouraging image of Woods watching his son play a few weeks ago.

There was an encouraging image of Woods watching his son play a few weeks ago.

There was an encouraging image of Woods watching his son play a few weeks ago.

The image suggested that he was able to enjoy at least one quality of life, the first item on the wish list once the shocking photographs of the car accident appeared.

Would it really be that intrusive if we had quarterly updates? How is he progressing, what is he capable of doing, any chance that he will pick a golf club? To be fair, it has never been Tiger’s style.

Instead, we’ve had snippets of his fellow touring partners, generally focused on generic sentiments like “he’s progressing well” and “concentrating on his recovery.”

For the millions of his fans hungry for information from the horse’s mouth, the wait shouldn’t be that long now for something more meaningful. Pencil at her event in the Bahamas.

Tiger will surely want to show his face, make some comments on television, and show that he is now on a strong recovery. A couple of months before his 46th birthday, it would be an ominous sign regarding any foreseeable prospect of a tournament return if he couldn’t make it to that date.

Saudi applications offer a glimpse of the future

And so it begins. According to Golfweek magazine in the US, Lee Westwood, Tommy Fleetwood and defending champion Dustin Johnson are among the first group of eight players to apply for PGA Tour release waivers to play in the Saudi Invitational in February. There will be more.

The Saudis couldn’t agree on a way to move forward with European and PGA tours for their proposed global circuit, so they bought the Asian Tour and changed their invite event from the Euro calendar to that one. It will take place after the events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai on the European Tour and naturally there will be plenty of incentives for the stars to stay for another week.

The default position of the PGA-Euro Tour alliance is to reject such exemptions; after all, there will be an event taking place in the same region that week on the last circuit, but will they do it when the time comes?

Could this end up being the first of the legal battles that Paul McGinley gloomily suggested in these pages recently that could be the fate of the sport for years to come?

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is among the first group of players to apply for PGA Tour release waivers to play in the Saudi Invitational in February.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is among the first group of players to apply for PGA Tour release waivers to play in the Saudi Invitational in February.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson is among the first group of players to apply for PGA Tour release waivers to play in the Saudi Invitational in February.

Has the European Tour done away with your qualifying school? It is usually at this time of year that some 150 players from around the world meet in Spain in the hope of winning a card to play on the main circuit, but it was not held in 2020 and it will not be played this season either. .

The tour insists that no long-term decision has been made with the Covid-19 pandemic which remains the official explanation for not playing, but don’t be surprised if it now proves to be a thing of the past. This year, the tour has moved to a model similar to the PGA Tour, with cards awarded to the top 20 on the reserve circuit, the Challenge Tour.

I fear it will be a death sentence for the school labeled “the toughest test in golf,” a place where terror and neurosis stalked every shot, but where stories of incalculable sacrifice and joy emerged.

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