If you had to choose a place for Tiger Woods to mark his latest return from injury, then Limerick in Ireland is probably not the city where you would start.
Yet that is the unlikely setting where you will find the 15-time major champion on Monday and Tuesday in his one public outing before competing in the 150th Open at St Andrews.
Happily, such worries appear to have been misplaced following another six weeks of intensive treatment. As ever with Tiger, there have been no updates on his progress or whether he needed more surgery to ease the discomfort. Perhaps more news will be forthcoming on Monday.
In the meantime, there was a cute video on social media last week of him indulging in an imaginary practice swing while standing on the sidelines watching a football match in Florida.
Woods has never made any secret of the fact that this, the gutsiest of all his comebacks, was all about being fit enough to play in the landmark Open on his ‘favourite course in the world,’ where he won the Claret Jug in 2000 and 2005.
The 46-year-old has not been seen since he pulled out of the US PGA Championship in May
Now, we will get some idea regarding the state of his game during two rounds at Adare Manor.
Tiger is the star attraction but hardly the only one at the JP McManus pro-am, a stunning extravaganza taking place once every five years and one where seemingly everyone who is anyone in golf simply has to show up. No one really knows why. Sure, it raises huge amounts for charity, but it is hardly alone in that.
The American won the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2000 and 2005
Indeed, such is the magnetic hold of JP, you feel if the Saudis replaced Greg Norman with him as the face of their controversial LIV tour, then all worries about attracting the world’s best would suddenly go away.
World No1 Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Open Champion Collin Morikawa, Jon Rahm, new US Open Champion Matt Fitzpatrick, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau — all will be in Limerick along with plenty of others.
Many of these players will then move on to the Genesis Scottish Open beginning at the Renaissance club in North Berwick on Thursday. This is the first co-sanctioned event with the PGA Tour and the benefits of that alliance plus the close proximity of the Open are plain in the strongest field in the history of the DP World Tour.
The event marks the start of an extraordinary run of golf in Scotland, with the Scottish Open, the Open, the Senior Open, plus the women’s Scottish Open and Women’s Open all taking place over a golden stretch of five weeks.
Meanwhile, Adrian Meronk takes a one-shot lead into the final round of the Irish Open today as he bids to become the first Polish winner in the history of the DP World Tour.
Meronk carded a third-round 68 at Mount Juliet to sit on 14 under, one shot ahead of Jack Senior, Jorge Campillo and Fabrizio Zanotti.