Justin Leonard has money on Tiger Woods

USA's Tiger Woods tees off the 5th during day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images)
USA's Tiger Woods tees off the 5th during day one of The Open Championship 2019 at Royal Portrush Golf Club. (Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images) /

Justin Leonard is enjoying watching Tiger Woods now more than ever and has his money on Woods when it is all on line.

Justin Leonard did not hesitate when I asked him who he would choose to make a 12-foot putt to win the Masters.

“I think I’d probably have to pick Tiger Woods,” Leonard said. “He seems to rise to the moment, rise to the occasion.”

Despite his belief in Woods to come up big in the biggest moments, Leonard is somewhat stunned that Woods has made it all the way back to the top and is getting ready to defend his Masters title come November.

“I think back to 2017 at the Presidents Cup,” Leonard recalled. “I was there with NBC and Golf Channel and I saw Tiger on the range and I asked him how he was doing and he’s like ‘Good, I don’t know if I can swing a golf club or not, I don’t know if I’ll be able to play again.’ To go from that point where he didn’t know if he was going to play again to now he has won three events on tour, I think it’s one of the best stories in all of sports.”

Leonard is weighing his own comeback while playing golf with his kids and doing his share of broadcasting with NBC and the Golf Channel. He does not want to give up his TV career if he does return to competitive play.

“I just turned 48 recently so I got a couple years until I’m eligible for the Champions Tour, so thats a possibility,” Leonard said. “I’ve actually started to play and practice a little bit more this year than I have over the last four years partly because my boys both play and have taken a big interest in the game. I also really enjoy my work as a golf analyst. I think it will be a combination of the two.”

Leonard is paying attention to how far players are flying the ball today and won’t be trying to compete in any long-distance drive contests. He was measured when asked if the PGA Tour will have to make changes to the golf ball or golf equipment to make golf courses play longer.

“I’ve never been one to tinker with the golf ball,” Leonard said. “I think it’d be an easier solution to limit the size of driver heads. You don’t want to take away the advantage of athleticism, at least I don’t, but maybe make it more about precision.”

Leonard could see a scenario coming in golf just like baseball. Major League Baseball uses wooden bats, but high school, college and amateurs all play with aluminum.

“If somebody said we do have to do something with the golf ball, I think bifurcation is the way to go,” Leonard said. “You don’t want to take away all the technology that is available to amateur golfers that make the game more fun and more playable just because Bryson DeChambeau has put on 50 pounds and can fly it 400 yards now.”

Leonard is planning on having fun with his dad this Father’s Day weekend while working with DICK’s Sporting Goods. 

“My dad is turning 79. We played a lot of golf together over the years. He really got me started in the game of golf at a very young age. ”

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