Chat with Tom Rinaldi
Woods will make his return to the PGA Tour starting Wednesday, after taking eight months off to recover from knee surgery.
Rinaldi is based in the New York, contributing to SportsCenter, Outside the Lines, College GameDay and NFL Countdown. A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he received an English degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1988 and a Masters in journalism from Columbia University in 1993.
Send your questions now and join Rinaldi in The Show at 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday!
Rinaldi Archive: Search
Buzzmaster (4:53 PM)
Tom is here!
Cory(Phoenix,AZ) [via mobile]
Now that Tiger is back, and no golfer has stood out in his layoff. what is the perception of Phil, Ernie and VJ on tour and in the media?
Tom Rinaldi (4:54 PM)
I think that the very best players are the happiest to have him back. While no one stepped in to fill the void, per say, in a sense that was an unrealistic expectation. Here's a player that transcended the game and defined it as none other may do again. The players, like Phil Mickelson who made statements like this today, is very grateful that he is back and understands all that he does for the game.
Did Tiger feel any pain today?
Tom Rinaldi (4:55 PM)
From his first tee shot to the last putt on 18, I walked all 18, watched every shot he hit and every step he took and I honestly saw no evidence at all that he was in any pain.
Tom Rinaldi (4:57 PM)
I think his knee, by his own discription is stronger then it's been in years. By not feeling the pain in that knee, and by not feeling, in his words, the bones shift during his swing, he feels more comfortable then he has in a very long time. One caveat, he can mask pain better then most, we saw the proof last June at Torrey Pines.
Eric Schmidgall Morton, Illinois [via mobile]
After being off for 8 months, Tiger says his short game is a lot better. Was it apparent in his practice round earlier today?
Tom Rinaldi (4:58 PM)
Good question. And it only took until the third hole for the short game to shine. On a par 3, with a sharp slope off the right side, he chipped in from fairly thick rough. Overall, his short game looked sharp. He believes that his short game is better then it was before his surgery.
Stephane DeBusschere,Royal Oak,Michigan! [via mobile]
Hello Mr.Rinaldi,Does it seem Tiger's course management has 2 follow the same flow of his cautious return 2 playing & does this give the field any glimmer of hope,since that's just as important as the swing?
Tom Rinaldi (5:00 PM)
I don't believe he's concerned with the difficult stances he may find himself with or the unusual lies that could put stress and strain on his knee and his left leg. On the 18th today, he faced a severe upslope with a very awkward chip. He rolled the ball inside five feet, made the swing and walked on to the green, after having walked 17 previous holes. There was no obvious or visible strain. It is only one practice round and he'll have to manage all parts of his game as he rediscovers the rhythm of competitive play.
Brett (pa) [via mobile]
Do you think tiger picked this tourney cause it's match play which definitley benefits him especially against a 65 ranked player
Tom Rinaldi (5:01 PM)
He has a great record of success in match play events. At this even in particular, he's a three-time winner and he's the defending champion. He has an overall record of 31-6. He's always thrived in the match play dynamic. And in many ways, it makes sense for him to return to a format he's apparently comfortable in.
What do you think having Woods back does for the game of golf?
Tom Rinaldi (5:04 PM)
In a word: everything. It is impossible to overstate what he means to his sport. From commissioner Tim Finchem through the most notable players, into the sponsors and down to the galleries, everybody will now exhale. Since June, despite fantastic major championship play and a compelling U.S. upset in the Ryder Cup, the sport has not felt right. Woods return is not only on the front of the sports page, it's on the front page. I believe CNN broke into his press conference today to cover it live. And he hasn't hit an official shot yet.
You got a prediction on how long it will take to finish off his first opponent?
Tom Rinaldi (5:05 PM)
I do not offer prognications nor prediction, but I think one thing is certain, the tee box at 12:02 p.m. Tuscon time is going to be electric.
Tom Rinaldi (5:05 PM)
Tiger is not only used to that, he's the source of that.
Tom Rinaldi (5:06 PM)
That's a pretty challenging situation for his opponent. But it's match play. As Tiger has learned, and knows, anyone can win on any given day.
Ralph (New Jersey)
Did Tiger look like he has lost a step, or is he better than when he left?
Tom Rinaldi (5:08 PM)
If I had to guess, I would say, Ralph, that he looks even bigger and stronger. His fitness has really never waned. He just channeled his workouts in another direction. He was actually in Las Vegas since late last week, working out and practicing in preparation to come here.
Do you think this weekend will have comparable TV ratings to the US Open? Higher even?
Tom Rinaldi (5:10 PM)
Great question. But the question assumes that Tiger will be here on the weekend. We have a sense of what the ratings might be if he's not around. But with last year's U.S. Open reaching a prime time audience along the East Coast, and with a fantastic dynamic between Woods and Rocco Mediate, that rating may well be safe. That's not to say that if Woods is here on the weekend that he won't increase the TV audience exponentially. We know he will.
Tom Rinaldi (5:11 PM)
Thanks so much for your questions. Please continue to follow our coverage of Tiger as he makes his return. Will his game be as strong as his knee? We'll find out.