TIGER WOODS’ £15million superyacht is on the move – which suggests golf’s biggest draw could be back in action sooner than expected.
Woods’ sleek 155ft boat, Privacy, is on its way from his Florida home to St Simon Island in Georgia, just two hours drive from the venue for next week’s PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head.
Hilton Head also boasts a great marina at Harbour Town, where the yacht could tie up if Georgia proves to be just a stop along the way.
The American bookies are convinced Woods will play next week.
They slashed the odds on that tournament providing his next start, installing the Heritage as a short-priced favourite.
The 15-time Major champion was not on board Privacy when it left Florida. But he could easily fly in and climb aboard, as he did when it was docked on Long Island for the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock, and last year’s USPGA at Bethpage.
Woods, 44, is the only notable absentee from the field at this week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, where 16 of the world’s top twenty are in action, including the top five.
Woods, currently 11th in the world rankings, has stressed the need to limit the number of tournaments he plays to protect his dodgy back.
And he has never been a big fan of Colonial, a course he has played just once. It is a tight, strategic lay-out, with the emphasis on patience rather than power.
Most pundits were tipping him to delay his return until the Memorial, Jack Nicklaus’ tournament, which takes place from July 16-19. He has won that event a record five times.
But Woods looked in great shape when he and Peyton Manning took down Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in last month’s Match Champions for Charity, which raised more than £16m for coronavirus charities
He hit every fairway and his back did not seem an issue – a massive turnaround after he repeatedly grimaced in pain on his last competitive appearance, slumping to weekend rounds of 76-77 at the Genesis Invitational in February.
Hilton Head is another course he has only played once before, finishing tied 18th in 1999.
But that is because the Heritage traditionally takes place a week after the Masters, and Woods has taken that week off for the past 20 years.
It was switched to a new date this year when the PGA Tour revised its schedule because of the coronavirus cancellations.
Staying on board his luxurious yacht, which boasts a gym, jacuzzi, and five state rooms, would not be a problem, even though the PGA Tour is keen to keep players, caddies, and staff in a tight bubble.
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They are allowing players to stay at their own homes if they live close to venues, and to rent houses if they do not want to use the designated hotel.
Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Jason Dufner are sharing a house this week and will do the same thing for the next two events, taking along the same chef they brought to Texas.
Woods’ boat would definitely get the Tour’s seal of approval. He has until 5pm Friday to register for Hilton Head.
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