Spotted on the practice green, the lesser seen Tiger Woods could be returning ‘a lot sooner’ than expected

The Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte reports Woods has been involved in a series of four-to-five-hour practice sessions at Medalist Golf Club

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 4:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 4:07pm

The Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte reported on Tuesday that Tiger Woods has been “involved in a series of four-to-five-hour practice sessions at Medalist Golf Club … including the playing of some holes” and that he “looked great, was talking to everybody in an upbeat mood, couldn’t have been happier.”

[Woods] looked great, was talking to everybody in an upbeat mood, couldn’t have been happier
Tim Rosaforte, The Golf Channel

This comes two weeks after Rosaforte reported that Woods was spotted hitting drivers “full speed” at Medalist, the club in Hobe Sound, Florida, at which Woods is a member.

So it seems as if Woods – who last played a PGA Tour event at the Wyndham Championship last August (he tied for 10th) and hasn’t won since the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational – is rounding the home stretch of his rehabilitation from back surgeries performed in September and October.

But when is he coming back? His team hasn’t announced anything yet, but let’s take a look at the upcoming tour schedule:

April 21-24: Texas Open
April 28-May 1: Zurich Classic of New Orleans
May 5-8: Wells Fargo Championship
May 12-15: Players Championship
May 19-22: Byron Nelson
May 26-29: Dean & DeLuca Invitational
June 2-5: The Memorial
June 9-12: St Jude Classic
June 16-19: US Open at Oakmont

As a US Open winner of the past 10 years, Woods is guaranteed a spot in this year’s tournament. But does anyone truly think he’s going to make that his first competitive outing in nearly a year? That would seem to point to either the Players Championship or the Memorial. As the 2013 Players winner, Woods gets a free pass into this year’s field if he wants it. He also has a spot reserved at the Memorial, an event he’s won five times.

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And then there’s this: Since 2013, Woods has played in nothing but the Players and the Memorial between the Masters and US Open. His last appearance in any of the other tournaments listed above came at Quail Hollow in 2012, when he missed the cut at the Wells Fargo.

Wherever and whenever it is, all this practice “points to him coming back a lot sooner than I think most of us expected,” Rosaforte said.