“We’re very lucky that he’s still here,” McIlroy had said of Woods on Wednesday (via golf.com). “I feel like we should pay tribute to him every day for being on the PGA Tour and what he’s done for golf.”
Others competing in Woods’s Sunday colours at the Workday Championship included Tony Finau, Tommy Fleetwood, Cameron Champ, Scottie Scheffler and Sebastian Munoz. A few players, including Bryson DeChambeau, Day and Matt Kuchar, per reports, played a Bridgestone ball with “Tiger” stamped on it.
Adding a red shirt to his traditionally black ensemble Sunday was Phil Mickelson, a long-time friendly rival of Woods who was playing in a Champions Tour event in Arizona.
Annika Sorenstam, making an appearance on the LPGA Tour for the first time in more than 12 years, also wore red and black Sunday, as did Angel Yin, who was playing in the final group at the Gainbridge LPGA. At the PGA Tour’s other event this weekend, the Puerto Rico Open, members of the grounds crew wore versions of Woods’s outfit.
Thomas, one of Woods’s closest friends on the Tour, was emotional Tuesday while speaking in Florida after the initial news on Woods emerged.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” Thomas said then. “You know, it hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right. Just worry for his kids, you know. I’m sure they’re struggling.”
On Saturday night, Thomas tweeted a photo of a shirt with tight red stripes matched with black pants. “Seemed fitting for tomorrow after the kind of week we’ve had,” he wrote. “Black and red on Sunday for TW!”
In his comments earlier in the week, McIlroy had pointed out while he and other players were planning on paying tribute to Woods, some of the reaction to the crash seemed more appropriate for a worse outcome.
“He’s not gone,” McIlroy said then (via golf.com).
“He’s got some pretty bad injuries, but he’s going to be OK. It’s not as if – I was looking at some of the coverage yesterday and they were talking as if he was gone. It’s like, he was in a car crash. It was really bad, he’s very fortunate to be here, which is great, but I mean, that’s the extent of it.”
At the same time, Woods’s injuries could prove career-ending, and PGA players are well aware of how much he has meant to their sport, as well as to them personally and professionally.
“Everyone I’ve talked to has been in a strange mood due to the news,” Xander Schauffele said this week at the site of the Workday Championship.
“I was talking to my caddie about the impact he’s had on the game of golf. It’s not good for us, not good for the game of golf. All we can do is hope that he’s fine and has a speedy recovery.”
Claiming this week that Woods’s runaway win at the 1997 Masters “changed the course of my life,” Finau told reporters, “Without that event, I probably wouldn’t be here, wouldn’t be playing golf, so he definitely changed the course of my life, my career. I’m one of hundreds of guys out here probably that would say the same thing.
“He means a lot to the game, but individually I think he means a lot to us just individually, especially for me.”
The Washington Post