A few hours before Tiger Woods stepped onto the tee box for the first time in 466 days, Skip Bayless explained on Undisputed why he feels sorry for the 14-time major champion, whose comeback attempt will likely be judged as a failure if he doesn't win another major championship.
“[The media] was gushing about ‘he was hitting shots like the old Tiger!’ in the pro-am yesterday. On the range yesterday. And I said ‘just stop it.’ I feel sorry for Tiger Woods now, because he is still a prisoner of who he used to be.
Once upon a time, nobody doubted the fact he was the most dominant golfer ever. In fact, I can make a case he was the most dominant performer in any sport. Ever.
…. That was always the debate we would do on television. Tiger or the field? That’s incredible.”
While the expectations fans and the media have for Tiger are still likely unrealistic, it's clear that Woods' time away from the game have changed him. The window to catch and surpass Jack Nicklaus on golf's all-time major list is closing with each passing year for Woods, but for the first time in his career he took a conservative and patient approach to his recovery – and while he struggled down the stretch in the Bahamas (carding two double bogeys over his last three holes), he seemed to be healthy. For now, that's a massive success.