Tiger Woods seems ‘fine to me’, says PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said he thought Tiger Woods had “actually died” after hearing reports of the golfer’s demise this week.

Tiger Woods seems ‘fine to me’, says PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem

Finchem met with Woods yesterday in Nassau ahead of the Hero World Challenge hosted by Woods’ foundation. Woods, who turns 40 on December 30, earlier in the week announce he does not have a timescale for his return.

Woods said he has not been able to begin rehabilitation work for the two back operations he has had since his last start over three months ago and there is “nothing I can look forward to”, prompting speculation that his glittering career may be coming to an end.

Finchem, however, had a different view after meeting Woods yesterday. “I saw Tiger. It was good,” Finchem said.

“It was fun. He seemed fine to me. I kidded him, because based on the media reports I read before I came down this morning, I thought he had actually died. I said: ‘Tiger, you’re supposed to be dead.’ He’s alive! He’s just not healthy enough to take on a rehab process, let alone play golf.

“He continues to go through these issues, so we’ll see what happens. He’s right where he’s been. Until the doctors release him to work on it, he’s kind of powerless. He’s frustrated.”

Meanwhile former Masters champion Adam Scott admits he has “no excuses” not to put up a strong challenge for the Hero World Challenge title this week.

World number one Jordan Spieth decimated the 18-man field 12 months ago, winning by 10 shots from Henrik Stenson with a total of 26 under par at Isleworth Golf and Country Club.

However, the £2.3million event has moved to Albany in the Bahamas this year, which happens to be home to Scott and world number five Justin Rose.

“I’ve played a lot of golf here,” Scott said in an interview broadcast on the PGA Tour website. “There are no real excuses I have out on the golf course this week.

“The knowledge is handy around here I do believe, but these are the best players in the world and this is what they do week in and week out, they learn a course in a couple of days and if you hit great shots, no matter where you are, you’re going to have good scores. But I certainly will be comfortable out there.”

Scott has opted to compete for the first prize of £670,000 in the Bahamas this week - last place is guaranteed £67,000 - instead of competing in the Australian PGA Championship on the European Tour. “It wasn’t really about not playing in Australia,” the 35-year-old from Adelaide added. “Obviously this is the community where I live and it’s a tough decision because I try and support the events in Australia as much as I can, but also I live in this community throughout the year and they have supported me incredibly well over the last few years.

“I felt like it was the right thing to do to come and play and it’s going to be a lot of fun for me as well. I would have liked to play in Australia but these are some of the tough decisions we face.”

Rose does not believe he will have as much home advantage as Scott, adding: “It’s going to be fun. It’s probably a bit of a holiday atmosphere, going to play golf in the Bahamas.

“I’ve only played the course about five or six times myself. You can tell I (don’t) play a lot of golf when I’m at home. It’s going to be a fun week to have all the boys on my doorstep.”

Elsewhere Danny Willett is hoping to take a massive step towards securing a Ryder Cup debut next year as defends his Nedbank Golf Challenge title in South Africa. Willett was 83rd in the world before his victory at Sun City 12 months ago but returns to South Africa ranked 20th — Justin Rose is the only higher-ranked Englishman — and fresh from finishing second on the 2015 Race to Dubai.

The 28-year-old is one of the favourites in the 30-man field at the Gary Player Country Club, where a successful title defence would increase his Ryder Cup points tally to 1.9 million. Jamie Donaldson secured the final qualifying place for Gleneagles last year with 2.6 million.

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