Albany(The Bahamas):In September this year, Tiger Woods had taken his children Sam and Charlie to watch Rafael Nadal play in the US Open. The Spanish tennis star triumphed at Flushing Meadows and later spent time with the Woods family in the locker room. On Sunday, it was Nadal’s turn to slip into the role of a spectator as he flew to the Bahamas to watch Tiger return to action at the Hero World Challenge here.
Nadal along with his girlfriend Xisca Perello and a few friends, followed Woods throughout the 18 holes on the final day. He obliged fans for photographs but would then quickly excuse himself and jog ahead to watch Tiger. “I don’t want to miss any shot of his,” Nadal said.
Later in a chat with this newspaper, Nadal revealed that he was here on a special invite from Tiger. Said Nadal, “He invited me and we came over to see him play. Tiger has been one of the greatest sportspersons in the last 50 years and it is great to see him in action.
“This is my second time at a golf tournament and I am really enjoying it. Tiger is Tiger and he doesn’t need my word of advice or praise. His return is great for world sport and of course, golf. He is the epitome of great sportsmanship, a great ambassador.” Post Woods’ round, Nadal spent time with Sam and Charlie hugging them and engaging in friendly banter.
“Tiger in better frame of mind”
Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, said the golfer seemed in a “better frame of mind” and that they will chart out a plan for him for 2018 post the Christmas break.
“He is definitely looking better than last year. He is more relaxed, sharper in almost every area but we will need to do a lot more,” said LaCava.
Asked if Woods could win in 2018, LaCava said, “Of course. And that’s coming more from a health standpoint. And he has the equipment dialed in. We are much more optimistic going forward than we were last year.”...