Jason Day not expecting Tiger back this year

Tiger Woods’ comeback has stalled, with the 14-time major winner bowing out of the PGA Tour’s season-opening Safeway Open on the Monday of tournament week. He’s backed out of a planned start at the European Tour’s Turkish Airlines Open in November. The next time we could expect to see Woods compete is the Hero World Challenge, run by his foundation, in December in the Bahamas.

However, world No. 1 Jason Day doesn’t expect Woods to make that start, and he was skeptical of Woods’ ability to return when he announced his intention to come back to competitive golf in September.

“I never really had any faith in him coming back this year,” Day said, according to Golf Australia. “The state of his game, I’m not sure. His back is so sore. I think we’ll see him sometime next year, but I’m not sure when.”

In announcing his withdrawal from the Safeway Open, Woods said his game is “vulnerable” and needed more time to get it ready. Woods mentioned in announcing his withdrawal that he was inspired by the play of the Americans at the Ryder Cup, for which he was a vice-captain. Day mentioned Woods was invigorated by Phil Mickelson’s close call to Henrik Stenson at the Open Championship in July.

“I think he misses being out here, which is understandable because the competition is so addicting,” Day said. “He saw Phil Mickelson playing well at the Open Championship, and that got him going. But he knows he can’t push it.”

Woods hasn’t played competitive golf since finishing tied for 10th place in the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. Complaining of hip pain that week, he later learned the source of that pain was the same spot on his back where a microdiscectomy was performed in March 2014. Another microdiscectomy was done in September 2015, with a follow-up procedure done the next month.

Day still wants to see Woods play again, although the Aussie believes Woods should have diminished expectations.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him play again,” Day said, “seeing what the state of his game is.”