It was twelve months and one day ago, the 14-time Major winner was given the green light by his team of doctors to again hitting golf balls.
We looked at social media video of Woods gingerly chipping balls and it was a moment also the golf world wondered if Woods would ever again step onto the first tee of a tournament golf course.
“I recall that first day as I was very nervous because I didn’t want to screw it up,” he said Saturday at TPC Boston.
“This is it. So if it doesn’t fuse, there really is no other option. And so the whole idea is the surgeon said it was fused, and okay, you can start progressing.
“I remember when I was cleared to hit long irons. Yeah, my first 4-iron probably carried about 90 yards. I was just so apprehensive to start letting it go.
“The doc said you’re good to go, now you’ve got to build in the confidence to let it go. And that’s probably what took the longest. I just didn’t want to — I didn’t want to hurt again.
“I didn’t want to feel that pain again. Every now and again throughout this entire year I’ve probably golfed and played a different shot here and there, because there is a bit of me that doesn’t want to feel that way again.”
Fast forward to 1st September, 2018, and in contrast to last week’s Northern Trust disappointment, Woods was good in all facets of his game missing just two of 14 fairways, finding all but four greens in regulation and recording 27 putts and eight fewer than a 71 in round two in New Jersey.
“I absolutely, I played well today. I hit it well. I really rolled it on my lines. A couple didn’t go in, but it was a good, solid day all around,” said Woods.
“I can’t say percentage-wise how much better today’s round was on yesterday’s efforts but yesterday I hit a couple of bad ones.
“And today I did not. The only bad shot I hit today was my tee shot on 8. I stuck it in the ground. But other than that, it was a good day.”
Woods will tee-up on day three of the $9m event at four-under par and trailing seven shots behind fellow American Webb Simpson who holed a 70-foot eagle putt at his final hole on day two in a round of 63 to lead by a shot at one-under par.
And Woods will play the third round in the company of last week’s Northern Trust champion, Bryson DeChambeau in what could easily be a pairing later this month in the Ryder Cup.