Poker Face: It’s Time To Call Tiger Woods’ Bluff About Retirement

Time to pump the brakes on the Tiger Woods retirement train ladies and gents. It appears as though Woods could be simply bluffing about his thoughts of retirement.

It’s time to call Woods’ out and (overly) analyze his swing and how close he is to returning to competitive golf.

In order to come full circle with this charade, we need to go back a few weeks ago to the opening press conferences at the Presidents Cup where Woods served as an assistant captain to Steve Stricker. This was the first time the media was able to pin Woods down after a five-month period where the front page of the tabloids was essentially a mirror for him.

One reporter asked the question that everyone was thinking of, but they didn’t have the stones to put it into words. The reporter asked if Tiger could envision a life where he doesn’t return to professional golf.

Woods replied with: “Yea definitely. I don’t know what my future holds for me.”

This news shouldn’t have been all that shocking…but it still was. Golf fans have dreaded the day that Woods would announce, let alone hint, at retiring from professional golf. The media ate this story up. Writing and discussing how the funeral would be prepared to lay his storied career to rest.

But Woods has decided to pull a Jordan Belfort on the golf world, saying that he’s….not….LEAVING!

In the last five days, Woods has gone from crawling to walking with his swing.

He was crawling on Saturday when he posted a video of himself hitting an iron shot from the fairway.

What can we take away from this sample? Well, a positive is the swing path Tiger is taking towards the ball. This stroke is reminiscent to his swing back in the early 2000’s when he did not use a long swing to crush the ball. But rather using a good path and a 3/4 swing to make solid contact with the ball. Some people would call that an ‘old man’s’  style. Others (wiser golfers) would view that as smart golf.

The negative would be the stiffness of his back. It’s clear that Woods still does not want to put too much stress on his lower back. It’s evident that he’s protecting this when he finishes the swing in a more upright position. The swing looks nice but can it be consistent and not cause harm to his back?

Woods dropped a bombshell on the fans when he was hitting full shots on Tuesday and breaking out his signature club twirl.

In both these angles, Tiger continues to use the abbreviated swing path to maintain the accuracy of the clubhead meets the ball with square contact. But there is a noticeable difference in the velocity of his swing on Tuesday as compared to Saturday’s shot.

Increased velocity and a confident club twirl could indicate that Tiger Woods knows something that the rest of the world doesn’t.

The ho-hum answer Woods gave a few weeks ago could be part of his strategy, but we’ve seen this before. Saying that won’t get the fan’s hopes up about a return…or lack thereof.