Tiger Woods on Playing Without Fans: 'The Energy Is Not Anywhere Near the Same'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2020

Tiger Woods watches his shot from 18th fairway during the second round of the Northern Trust golf tournament at TPC Boston, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Norton, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Tiger Woods is used to playing with large galleries following him on every hole, which makes playing without fans a major adjustment for the superstar.

"Obviously the energy is not anywhere near the same," Woods said Sunday, per Nick Pietruszkiewicz of ESPN. "There isn't the same amount of anxiety and pressure and people yelling at you and trying to grab your shirt, a hat off you. This is a very different world we live in."

The PGA Tour has played events without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic since returning in June. Woods has competed in three official tournaments since then, including The Northern Trust which wrapped up Sunday.

The 44-year-old finished six strokes under par for the week but far back of the leaders.

The difference was likely seen on Sunday as Woods began his day with four straight birdies, ending his front nine with a five-under 31. He was unable to sustain the success as he had pars on each of the final nine holes.

"You hit good shots and you get on nice little runs, we don't have the same energy ... the same fan energy," he said after he round. "It is different."

Woods noted he had become "accustomed" to 20,000-40,000 fans yelling after each shot.

The 15-time major champion hasn't been quite as sharp as he could be in his return after the extended break. Though he has made all three cuts, this week will be his third straight finish outside the top 30.

He was tied for 37th at the PGA Championship, the first major of the year.

With tournaments expected to continue without fans for the foreseeable future, Woods must adjust to the quieter setting.