Tiger Woods will return to the PGA Tour this week at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods was 'not quite comfortable' about returning to PGA Tour

After nearly five months away, Tiger Woods is set to return to the PGA Tour this week when he competes at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio. 

Why didn't Woods decide to come back earlier, like many other golfers did? The 15-time major winner says he wanted to make sure he felt safe and comfortable before officially returning. 

"I just felt it was better to stay at home and be safe," Woods said. "I'm used to playing with lots of people around me or having lots of people have a direct line to me, and that puts not only myself in danger but my friends and family, and just been at home practicing and social distancing and being away from a lot of people. 

"Coming back and playing the tour, in my case over the 20-some-odd years I've been out here, that's really hard to say, that I'm used to having so many people around me or even touch me, going from green to tee. That's something that I looked at and said, well, I'm really not quite comfortable with that, that whole idea."

The Memorial Tournament will not have fans but it is expected to have many of the biggest names in golf, including Rory McIlroy, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler. The plan puts Woods on track to compete at the PGA Championship in San Francisco on Aug. 6-9.

Woods' cautious approach is one shared by several other major athletes who wanted to make sure they were not being rushed back to professional sports before they were ready. Even though golf is a sport that hypothetically is "social distance friendly," that does not mean there are not serious risks involved with traveling and playing. 

But Woods, 44, is now ready to make his return.

Although to be fair, while this may be Woods' first time back on the PGA Tour, it is not his first golf event since the pandemic. He participated in "The Match II," a fundraising golf event with Phil Mickelson, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in May, where he and Manning were triumphant.

Blake Harper is a writer based in New York. He's originally from San Diego and is one of the few Chargers fans left. He doesn't believe in ties and loves elaborate celebrations. Follow him on Twitter @beezyharps 

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