After each swing video update from Tiger Woods speculation has been rife about his return, and his former coach thinks it might be closer than we think.
The latest Tiger video came just a few days ago as he showed the 'return of the stinger' - and now his former swing coach has said he's going to be playing at the Hero World Challenge (which takes place Nov 30th-Dec 3rd).
On the SirusXM PGA Tour radio show, Haney said: “They’re going to toy with everybody because it’s just what they do, but he’s playing at the Hero World Challenge."
"He’s not going to wait until February to play again. He’s chomping at the bit. If he can be out there playing and can play 18 holes, he can play 18 holes three, four, five days in a row I can tell you he’s going to be out there wanting to tee it up.”
“He’s in great shape, he’s in great golf shape, whatever that means. It’s just a question of whether or not he has any setbacks with his back, and obviously so far that hasn’t occurred because if it had occurred he would shut it down immediately and he’s still going.”
If he is fit, the tournament certainly is one that would be a good fit for Woods - and not just because he hosts the event. It's where he made his return last year and posted both the most birdies and most bogeys of the week, but it's also a small field event that has been played on the same course for the past three years - and it will obviously help with confidence returning to a tournament that he has won five times.
However, he has said time and time again that he isn't in any hurry to rush back. Just at the Presidents Cup last month he was saying he could absolutely forsee a situation where he doesn't return to professional golf, so to play the Hero World Challenge in December would be an incredible turn-around six months on from his fourth back surgery.
Then again, he had also said during that press conference in September that his timetable is down to his surgeon - and since then he has been cleared to resume to full golf activity by the that doctor. We'd rather be certain Tiger is fully fit and ready to play before he tees up - but if you listen to Haney, we'll be seeing Tiger on the course very soon.
Tiger Woods: Recent Timeline of events
➤ August 31st: Posts first video showing him hitting greenside shots which he entitled 'Dr has Ok'd me to start pitching'
➤ September 27th: "I don't know what my future holds," Woods said at the Presidents Cup. "We're taking one step at a time, it's a process and I'm in no hurry. My timetable is basically what my surgeon says. I'm hitting 60-yard shots, very straight right now."
➤ October 7th: Posts 2nd video of him hitting 'smooth iron shots'
➤ October 10th: Posts 3rd video, this time hitting more iron shots and showing off a classic club twirl while at a golf clinic with Kevin Chappell
➤ October 15th: Posts 4th video, showing him hitting driver for the first time which he titled 'Making Progress'.
➤ October 16th: Tiger's agent Mark Steinberg confirms that Woods had been cleared a week earlier to resume to full golf activity. Hank Haney responds to 4th video to say "That’s a swing he could win with, it’s not across the line and stuck inside coming down, a little stiff looking but it’s good enough"
➤ October 23rd: Posts most recent video 'return the stinger'
➤ October 25th: Ian Baker-Finch wrote on twitter "Tiger played yesterday at Medalist GC he looks fit and strong and swing looks very good to me...", while Hank Haney took to radio to announce he thought Tiger would be back playing in just over a month's time at the Hero World Challenge