September 18, 2014

Tiger’s Blog: Proud of Hero World Challenge, looking forward to hosting in December

We had some really big news Monday, announcing India-based Hero MotoCorp as the title sponsor of the Hero World Challenge beginning this year. People may not know it, but Hero is the world’s largest manufacturer of two-wheelers. I first met the CEO, Pawan Munjal, when I visited India, and we had a great time. It is a global brand and a great fit for our tournament.

The Hero World Challenge has been an integral part of my foundation since 1999, and it has raised $25 million for charity. I’m so proud of this event and look forward to hosting it at Isleworth Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Florida. We have a great field taking shape, including Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Jim Furyk, Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose. It’s the first time Isleworth will be open to the public, and I’m looking forward to playing and trying for a sixth win in front of the sellout crowds there. 

I’m feeling great. I’ve been home and with my kids a lot, and haven’t swung a club yet, but I have done some shadow swings in the mirror. I’m hoping to swing a club later this month or early next, but we’ll see how it goes. I got my strength back and need to get my explosiveness back before I start.

As for my coaching situation, there is no hard-and-set rule on this. I may just do it on my own. I’m keeping my options very, very open. I need to get healthy first before I start back and see how I feel. That’s the No. 1 concern. And from there, then I can start deciding where I want to go with it.

I have bounced some things off Notah Begay III, my close friend and former Stanford teammate. We just kind of talked things through; he’s like an older brother. We’ve discussed my options and what direction he thinks I should go. He’s just trying to help out any way he can. I have been asked if I ever give him any advice about his on-course commentary, and I say, ‘No, because I’m always on the other end of it.’ Once he was standing in the middle of the fairway, and we had to yell at him to move out of the way.   

I really haven’t watched much golf. I’ve seen a few shots here and there, but that’s about it. I’ll tune in to the Ryder Cup to see how our guys do. I think Tom Watson made three great captain’s picks. Hunter Mahan hits the ball on a string and is one of the best ball-strikers out here. And when he putts well, he wins, hands down. Webb Simpson is a great grinder. He’s a great person to have in these team events because he can get up and down and make putts. And Keegan Bradley is just a ball of energy. He’s the guy you want on the team because he’s fired up, anxious to play and wants to do anything he can to help out his teammates. He’s just fun to be around.

I had a great time in New York with Rory McIlroy. We did a Nike outing to launch the new Vapor irons and appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” Rory is a really good kid, and we always have fun when we hang out together. He wears his heart on his sleeve, that’s for sure. 

Although I wasn’t able to play, I’m ecstatic how the Deutsche Bank Championship went. We made some improvements and tweaks to the course from last year, and the players liked them. When you get compliments from the players — and I’ve gotten a bunch through emails and texts — that’s very nice. I went to the pro-am reception, and it was great to see how enthusiastic the amateurs were about the tournament. I also want to offer my congratulations to champion Chris Kirk. And significantly, we were able to raise money for my foundation, including nine new Boston scholars, which is the most important thing. 

My golf course design business has been very busy. We have broken ground on Bluejack National Golf Club, just north of Houston. I look forward to getting back there soon. My El Cardonal course at Diamante Cabo San Lucas is scheduled to open later this year. My thoughts are with all my friends at Diamante and throughout the Baja Peninsula as they recover from the hurricane that hit over the weekend.

That’s it for now. I want to thank everyone for their continued support and well wishes. Take care.