Tiger takes his time in PGA Tour return

Updated: May 30, 2006, 2:15 PM ET
By John Hawkins | Golf World

Tiger Woods isn't coming back until he's good and ready. That much was made clear last week, when the field for this week's Memorial Tournament was released and Woods' name wasn't on the list. I heard Tiger picked up a club recently for the first time since his father's death on May 3. He's obviously in no rush to return to competitive golf.

Tiger Woods
Harry How/Getty ImagesAnyone who thinks Woods will return before he's ready to win just doesn't know him very well.

The U.S. Open? I still don't see any chance Woods will pass on a major championship, but until a couple of days ago, I didn't think he'd skip the Memorial, either. Even the few trusted confidants who make up Tiger's inner circle seem uncertain about his future over the next few weeks, which tells me Woods probably won't decide anything until he absolutely must.

And so the speculation will continue. Not about just when Woods will return, but how his game will be affected by a layoff that is sure to reach two months. I refer you to the start of the 2003 season -- Woods underwent knee surgery in December 2002, returned to action exactly two months later and won his first start, the Buick Invitational. I don't know if you can compare the emotional trauma of losing your father to the questions that follow a relatively serious injury, but the recuperative time is likely to be about the same, and there is a precedent.

Woods will take all the time he needs to heal, and when he does return, he'll be the same guy who has 10 major titles and 48 career PGA Tour victories. He won't tee it up again until he knows he can win. Anyone who thinks otherwise just doesn't know the guy.

John Hawkins is a senior writer for Golf World magazine.