The Return of Tiger Woods
At the Hero World Challenge legend of the game Tiger Woods made his much anticipated return to competitive action and showed glimpses of greatness.
Ahead of his return to action we were lucky enough to hear the thoughts of commentators, coaches, players and fellow legends on Woods' latest comeback and the challenges facing him this time around.
In the piece below Sky Sports Golf commentator Ewen Murray and Sky Sports Golf analyst Tim Barter share with us their mix of excitement, apprehension and caution regarding the 14-time major champion's baby steps back into top level competitive action and fellow pros Patrick Reed and Louis Oosthuizen also lend their words of support to the man still most capable of pushing the needle in the game.
Caution is well advised when trying to predict the success of a return to action for Tiger Woods given that he hasn't won for coming up to five years, that his last major success came almost a decade ago and that his last 'comeback' lasted only a matter of competitive rounds.
There does, however, seem to be a much greater sense of optimism from Woods, those close to him and those that have greater insight into the mind and the powers of the great man with regards his latest attempt to build back up to tournament speed. These feelings will certainly not have been dampened by his very encouraging first competitive outing in more than 300 days.
The Hero World Challenge was of course a glorified exhibition event but many of the world's finest players did tee it up and the returning great more than held his own and clearly impressed not only his fellow pros but also himself.
One man who knows what it takes to win multiple majors, defy doubters and achieve great longevity in the sport, Gary Player, also spoke to us recently about a variety of topics including the man that everyone is talking about at the moment.
It's fair to say that the past decade has been a battle for one of the greatest players ever to play the game both on and off the course but it really does seem that he is both mentally and physically back on the road to success.
Whether or not he can return to the winning majors or even tournaments is unclear but there is no doubt that if he can remain fit and healthy and get back to winning ways that his once overwhelming aura will at least in part return. Admittedly, it is a big 'if' though.
It's going to be a long road back to the top for Woods even if he continues to physically and technically move in a positive direction but other top players would be naive to think that even after all he's been through that he cannot get back near the summit of the men's game.
There are very few players, if any, that have ever possessed the mental fortitude that Tiger has in his locker and he simply wouldn't be stepping back into the limelight unless he believes that he still has what it takes to succeed at the top level.