There are few constants in life, but death, taxes and the wide-ranging interest in Tiger Woods are all on the short list.
Never mind that the 41-year-old hasn’t won a tournament since 2013. Or that he’s 674th in the world rankings, nestled between Erik van Rooyen and D.A. Points.
When Woods tees off, he’s still an attention magnet. He proved as much once again during his short time at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“Obviously there is huge interest in his comeback from injury and so on, the fact he was in the field proved to be a massive draw in terms of ticket sales and hospitality sales,” Peter Dawson, chairman of the Dubai-based Falcon Golf told GolfChannel.com. “People still want to see Tiger Woods.”
But attending fans and viewers didn’t get to see much of Woods. He withdrew from the event after just 18 holes because of back spasms. He did not score a single birdie and shot a 77 during his lone round at the tournament.
Perhaps that shouldn’t have been surprising. Woods has been plagued by nerve damage and surgeries the past three years, and it’s hard to think a 17-hour flight was good for his oft-ailing back.
Still, the 14-time major champion has a ceiling few, if any, can reach. And Tiger has had some recent success, leading the field in birdies at the Hero World Challenge in December despite stumbling through a rocky final round.
Woods is scheduled to compete in next week’s Genesis Open and in the Honda Classic beginning Feb. 23. Provided this flare-up doesn’t derail those plans, he will once again take the course with the eyes of the golf world upon him.
When he plays, people watch. For all the twists and turns his career his taken, that part of the story hasn’t changed.