Tiger Woods returned to his first tournament after nursing an injury for three months on Thursday, amid some personal criticism from NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.
Woods' comeback appearance took place at the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. With a highly publicized new caddie in tow, Woods spoke about his injured leg last week.
"I don't feel a thing," Woods said earlier this week. "It feels solid, it feels stable, no pain. As I said, that's one of the reasons why I took as long as I did to come back is that I want to get to this point where I can go ahead and start playing golf again like this."
However, the tournament was cause for Woods’ name to be the topic of conversation on an ESPN New York radio show with Mike Lupica and Barkley on Wednesday. Barkley expressed disappointment in Woods’ recent decisions, including one to fire his longtime Caddie, Steve Williams.
“It's been very frustrating to watch everything that has transpired," Barkley said on Mike Lupica’s ESPN New York 1050's show. "Getting rid of Steve Williams was probably the last straw for me."
Aside from parting ways with Williams, Barkley said he is confused and upset about Woods parting ways with his 15-year friendship, claiming they haven't spoken in two years.
"You think you're friends with a guy. You talk to him once a week for 15 years. You're like, this dude is my friend, we do things, we have fun together," Barkley said on the ESPN radio show. "I haven't talked to him in two years and I'm wondering what...is going on."
Despite the criticism from the former NBA legend, Woods received support for his first golf appearance in three months. Lebron James, an Ohio native and All-Star NBA player, took to his Twitter account to show Woods support.
“Best of luck to @TigerWoods in my hometown of Akron!!" James tweeted on Thursday. "Let's go. On the road to the top..Again."