Notah Begay: Tiger Is Taking His Time

Tiger Woods hasn’t played in a major this season. He sat out the Masters, he sat out the U.S. Open, and he’s sitting out the British Open at Royal Troon. Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney wondered if Woods might return for the PGA Championship at Baltusrol later this month, but that doesn’t appear likely.

Still, it’s likely that we’ll see Woods again at some point.

“Health-wise, (he’s) good,” Golf Channel analyst Notah Begay said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He’s really giving it the type of rest that I think is appropriate, especially (after) turning 40 (and having three back procedures). Most athletes come back too early. I kind of joked with him, saying, ‘Hey, you’ve never heard of an athlete that was accused of coming back too late. Athletes are accused of coming back too early.’ I just encouraged him to enjoy the time with his kids.”

If a football or basketball or baseball player is trying to return from injury or poor play, spending time with the family might not be No. 1 on the list of priorities. But for a golfer, it might just be what the doctor ordered.

“Golf’s different,” Begay said. “In football and baseball and basketball, you get pushed out of your sport in your mid-30s. If you’re lucky, you can sort of hold on into your late-30s and maybe early 40s if you can avoid injury or you’re just immensely gifted. But golf, in a lot of cases, you hit your prime in your mid-30s. You look at Nicklaus winning the Masters at 46, Vijay Singh and Davis Love being competitive into their 50s at the highest level, and you’re seeing a 46-year-old in Phil Mickelson who’s leading the Open this week. It’s one of those sports that doesn’t ever give you a reprieve unless you take it for yourself.

“Tiger, in this instance, is taking his time,” Begay continued. “He’s going to soccer tournaments with (his son), Sam, he’s playing golf with (his other son), Charlie, and watching him play in junior golf tournaments. Charlie finished second about a month ago in an event, and he’s quite a nice young player. I just think he’s taking this time to sort of collect this thoughts and pull himself together. He knows once he steps back into the fire, it gets awfully hot.”

Woods has won 14 major championships, which trails only Jack Nicklaus, who won 18. Woods has not won a major since 2008.

If Woods was healthy, would he have played in the Olympics?

“100% he would have been down there flying the Red, White, and Blue and trying his hardest to win a Gold Medal… He’s always been a big advocate of playing for his country. He loves that type of environment and competition. We talked about it when the Olympics were announced a few years ago and he was like, “man, I’d love nothing more than to walk in those Opening Ceremonies and get a general sense of what those other athletes experience at the Olympics”

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