Woods-Manning prevail in star-studded match, raised USD20m for charity

MIAMI (AFP) – Tiger Woods said while his surgically repaired back may never be 10-out-of-10 again, it won’t stop him from being healthy and ready to go when the PGA Tour starts up again.

The 44-year-old Woods said he’s been able to use the down time during the coronavirus pandemic to get himself in shape for an expected condensed fall golf season.

“It is going to be interesting,” said Woods during a four-man charity golf tournament in Florida last Sunday. “I am used to trying to peak for majors in April, May, June and July, forever. Now this (COVID-19) has changed everything. It is fluid. It is on the fly.”

Asked to rate how his back feels on a scale of one to 10, Woods said, “Well, let’s just say 10 is not what it used to be.”

PGA stars Woods and Phil Mickelson and two NFL quarterback legends Peyton Manning and Tom Brady squared off in an entertaining made-for-television charity golf event last Sunday that raised USD20 million for coronavirus relief efforts.

The 18-hole match included nine holes of four-ball and nine holes of modified alternate shot, with on-course challenges for charitable funds.

Woods, who paired with Manning, showed no rust as they held off a back-nine rally from Mickelson and Brady for a one-up victory in the 18-hole match play format.

Last Sunday’s event, called “The Match: Champions for Charity,” was a rematch of sorts for Mickelson and Woods, who faced off in a similar charity event last year in Las Vegas. It also marked a return to the golf course for the both PGA stars due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PGA Tour is on hiatus until June 11, when the Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial is scheduled to begin in Texas.

The charity match was the first competitive golf for Woods since the Genesis Invitational on February 16, where he shot weekend rounds of 76-77 to finish in 68th place at the Riviera Country Club course.

He said the forced break has been refreshing and described his health as surprisingly good considering he has been taken out of his regular training regime.

“It is nice to be at home training each and every day,” Woods said. “I get some treatment on it and get onto a routine basically.

“With this pandemic and everything that has happened, we (have) all been very careful and try to stay at home,” he said.

Woods said he has enjoyed spending more time with his family and has added tennis to his workouts.

“It has been good in that regard because I have been able to spend a lot of time with my kids. We had a lot of fun. This is the most amount of tennis I have played ever.”

The start of Sunday’s match was delayed by rain that fell steadily throughout the majority of the round.

Woods helped offset the difficult playing condition Sunday by taking advantage of competing on his home course, the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound.