Hank Haney says Tiger Woods will exceed most expectations in his return to competition at the Hero World Challenge.
Woods has not played a professional event since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February.
In an interview with My Golf Daily, Haney shared his thoughts on Woods return to golf and the state of his game.
In April, Woods announced he had undergone his fourth back surgery.
Woods announced on October 30, he will make his return to competition at the Hero World Challenge Nov. 30-Dec. 3. It’s the second consecutive year he’s come back from a layoff at the Hero World Challenge.
Just fifteen days earlier Woods posted a video hitting a driver, with the remarks “making progress”.
Making Progress pic.twitter.com/I3MZhJ74kI
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) October 15, 2017
Many tour insiders have been skeptical of Woods ability to be competitive again after his fourth back surgery.
Woods former coach Hank Haney is not one of them.
Haney told My Golf Daily that most expectations seem be to relatively low for Tiger’s return, but he feels differently.
“I expect Tiger to far exceed those expectations and show that this comeback will be different now that he’s not hurting and off the painkillers”, said Haney.
Hank Haney is one of golf’s top instructors and coached Woods to six major championships. Under Haney’s instruction Woods won more than one out of every three events he entered.
“I would expect rust, maybe some club selection mistakes, hitting the wrong shot, miss judging the wind, or miss reading some putts. Those are rust issues,” said Haney.
“Hitting it in the bushes or out of play isn’t rust. Mishitting shots isn’t rust. Blading or fatting short shots isn’t rust”, said Haney. “I am expecting his game to be a little rusty but not showing a skill or technique problem in anyway. Those type of problems can’t be attributed to rust like some people have done in the past,”
Haney not only is predicting Woods to exceed expectations, he predicted Woods return many times on his radio show on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio, and via Twitter.
On October 25, Haney said, “Hero World Challenge is where and when; why wouldn’t he play there? Only thing that keeps him from playing there is a set back.”
Haney said after seeing Woods swing with the driver, “That’s a swing he could win with, it’s not across the line and stuck inside coming down, a little stiff looking but it’s good enough.”
Haney’s optimism seems to be justified by Rickie Fowler who recently played with Woods at Medalist Golf Club. When asked how far Woods was hitting the ball Fowler replied, “well by me.”