Tiger Woods was supposed to be defending his 2019 Masters championship over Easter weekend. Instead, he’s a lot like people everywhere during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Hunkered down in his home in Florida with his girlfriend and two children, his life is a little more humdrum than usual.
In an interview with Golf TV’s Henni Zuel, Woods touched on the return of his beard, his Masters dinner, how he’s staying in shape and how he’s passing the time (puzzles!).
He’s been sporting facial hair again, mostly because “it’s just laziness,” he said. “The last time I was out for a long time, when I came back I was vice-captain at Hazeltine and had a little beard there as well so this is the same thing.”
Woods had played precious little golf before sports were shut down, going unseen since the Genesis Open in mid-February because of a back injury. His health has improved, but now there are no tournaments.
“Night and day. I feel a lot better than I did then,” he said of the Genesis Open. “I’ve been able to turn a negative into a positive and been able to train a lot and get my body to where I think it should be at. I’ve been able to play some golf. Fortunately, Medalist Golf Club [in Hobe Sound, Florida] is still open here, virtually every course to the south of us is closed – but we remain open, so it’s been nice to go out there and hit some golf balls a little bit. You need to get some fresh air and do something. Obviously we have our social distancing, you can’t touch rakes or touch the flags. One person per cart but at least the members and their kids are able to play a little bit, get out there and do something active. Some want to walk the dog, some want to roam the golf course, just doing some daily activity to get some exercise and give you peace of mind.”
One of Woods’s goals had been to put on a few pounds, but he may be the only person in quarantine who has not done so. However, he said, he has “gotten stronger. I have not put on a lot of weight because every now and then I’ll go for a ride outside, cycle down the road and come back and whatever weight I’ve put on I’ve lost. It’s still warm down in here in south Florida, it’s hovering around the mid 80s, low 80s pretty much every day, so anytime I’m outside, I’m sweating. It feels good to be outside, at home, feeling the breeze against my face feels fantastic. I know when I come home I’m not going to be able to do much, so I end up cycling for longer.”
Woods made headlines this week for posting a photo of his private Masters dinner. The defending champion hosts a dinner at Augusta National Golf Club during the week of the tournament, choosing the menu. Woods kept to it this week, putting on his green jacket and sitting down with his girlfriend, Erica Herman; daughter Sam (who turns 13 in June); and son Charlie (who turned 11 in February).
The menu, he said, consisted of “steak and chicken fajitas, sushi and sashimi. We had cupcakes and milkshakes for dessert. So it was exactly what I was going to serve. As I said, Masters dinner quarantine style with my family, we had a lot of fun and eventually it got a little bit interesting at the end, a little ugly, where icing was flowing across people’s hair and face, and so we had a little bit of fun at the end.”
Woods did, however, doff his champion’s green jacket before the cupcakes starter flying. “This jacket cannot get any cupcake on it. So, I take the jacket off. . . Okay, go!”
So maybe Woods’s sequestration is more exciting than yours. But there are mundane moments when even Woods has no game. “I’ve been trying to help Sam and Erica with this ungodly puzzle that they have,” he said. “They have just finished a 2,000 piece puzzle, and now there’s a 3,000 piece puzzle!” Woods, who said that he’s partially color blind, struggles and said, “I find myself asking is this right, is that right? They get sick and tired of me asking. They end up shooing me away from the puzzle. Once the borders are done though, I’m useless.”
Because of his numerous injuries, Woods is used to taking things slowly and he remembers those days as these pandemic days become monotonous.
“I go back to what my dad used to say, and that it’s true that he got through a lot of tough times, don’t look at it day by day. He used to say – ‘take it one meal to the next’ – so you go at it until the next meal. And then you figure it out, go out and get it until the next meal. When times are very slow like this, when days feel like months if not years, you just try and break it up into pieces when you can accomplish things.
“Unfortunately for myself, I’ve been through episodes like this in my career with my back, where seconds seem like months. You have to slow things down and do things at a different pace, look at things with a different lens, from a different perspective, where you can accomplish goals and I think at this point in time going from meal to meal has worked. I don’t know how long this is going to work, how long we’re going to be in this pandemic, but for us it’s been these mini-goals that’s allowed us to keep going forward and next thing you know it’s nighttime and it’s time for bed. Repeat process, but trying to keep the interest of my kids, Erica, myself and our hopes up. Sometimes it’s challenging.”