For Tiger Woods, nothing but major championships were guaranteed when it came to his schedule. And even that isn’t clear now, after it was revealed that Woods recently underwent a microdiscectomy to relieve his back pain.
Apparently Woods is kicking himself after surgery on the 23rd. December is already in the nuts. Nonetheless, Woods is competing in the Farmers Insurance Open and the Genesis Invitational, two tournaments in which he is participating.
At the age of 45, Woods was already in a questionable position, with an inevitable back strain following his spinal fusion surgery in 2017. Now, the added fold is restored after a microdiscectomy procedure, which usually does not require an overnight stay, but of course requires some recovery time.
Prior to this we expected less, and as we approach the year 2021 this seems to be even more the case. With that in mind, let’s take a look at Woods’ schedule.
AP Photo/John Minchillo
The Arnold Palmer Invitational (March 4-7) looks to be the first place to come back to, and there are only six weeks left – which already seems too long. Woods has had great success on Bay Hill, winning eight times, most recently in 2013. His best performance since then is a tie for fifth place in 2018, when he briefly struggled in the final round. However, he has missed the tournament the last two years. He complained of a stiff neck in 2019 and missed last year due to back problems. If you missed the last two, it’s easier to miss them again. And the Bay Hill games are not profitable. That doesn’t seem like the best option.
The Players Championship (March 11-14) was never a particularly important tournament for Woods, although he won it twice. However, Tiger does not miss any event on the PGA Tour, except in the case of a physical disability. Since the recall began on the 23rd. In December, there is a glimmer of hope.
The Honda Classic (March 18-21) is just a few miles from Woods’ home, and he has made several appearances at this event over the years. If everything was normal, it wouldn’t be, but now it’s very real. We are eight weeks and three weeks away from the Masters. The home game might work best. The PGA National is a tough place to work, but Woods may not have a choice. The fact that the game is next week is no guarantee.
Austin Country Club
The WGC-Dell Technologies competitive championship (March 25-28) takes place two weeks before the Masters, and Woods loves this time of year. It’s guaranteed three rounds in a round robin format, everything else is a bonus. Two years ago, Woods finished fifth at Austin Country Club and lost in the quarterfinals. He won the Masters in two weeks. Here’s the problem: It may not be a contest. Woods is ranked 44th in the world and falls. Can he stay in the top 64 at this point? Is he even willing to risk playing a few games if he can make it through the weekend? If you don’t qualify, a Honda the week before is better. Crazy idea: Woods is ineligible and is competing in the counter event in the Dominican Republic.
The week of the 3rd. April’s already surrounded. If Woods can’t get back by then, can he get back to the masters? It’s not a great place to go back to, but he’s done it before: in 2010 and 2015, his senior year, he took nine weeks off to work on his game. Woods hates to miss the masters. The fact that he had a problem and seems to want to solve it as soon as possible suggests that he would do his best to be present in Augusta.
Moving the Valspar Championship from March to three weeks after the Masters (April 29-May 2) could help the Florida Land Woods tournament. Three years ago, in his fourth start after spinal surgery, he finished second, one length behind winner Paul Casey, at the Copperhead Race at Innisbrook. The course is close to the house and is very suitable for Woods. Plus, it’s three weeks before the PGA Championship. The only question that arises is this: Would he rather play next week? If you can’t play the Masters, this event is the best place to come back as it’s over three months away.
Fargo’s championship in Wells (May 6-10) looks to be a good place for Woods, who last won the tournament in 2007 and finished fourth in 2009. Since then, he has played the event just four times, with two misses and a tie for 55th place. Place in 2018. The Quail Hollow Golf Club has undergone some changes that Woods may not appreciate. That might keep him out of the way. Again, if he wants to play two weeks before the PGA Championship, that will be his decision, which means he will miss Valspar.
At the PGA Championship (May 13-17), Woods is unlikely to do what he did in 2019, which is play the tournament after the Masters first. Last year was his only tee time for the PGA Memorial, his first tournament since the end of the pandemic. In 2012, Woods shared the 36-hole lead at Kiawah Island, South Carolina, with Vijay Singh and Carl Pettersson, shooting just 74-72 for the weekend and finishing well behind the leaders. Rory McIlroy won the tournament by eight strokes; Woods finished 11th, 11 strokes behind.
Village of Muirfield
Two weeks after the PGA, two weeks before the US Open. The Jack Nicklaus Memorial Tournament (June 3-6) in Dublin, Ohio is ideally located. Barring unforeseen circumstances, it’s hard to imagine Tiger missing a tournament he won five times.
The U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines in San Diego for the first time since Woods’ epic victory over Rocco Mediate in 2008. It was his 14th. An important title, and a lot has happened in the last 13 years. But I think Torrey prefers Woods.
Royal St George,.
It’s hard to imagine Woods playing between the openings. It’s unlikely he’ll play the Travelers the week before the US Open or the John Deere the week before. All he has left is the Rocket Mortgage Championship in Detroit, a place he’s never played before. He did not speak at the public meeting at Royal St. John’s. St. John’s. George has been in Sandwich, England for 18 years. He missed the 2011 tournament due to injury. He was in fourth place when Ben Curtis shocked the world in 2003. He entered the final round just two shots behind Thomas Bjorn and missed the playoffs by two shots. (Woods lost the ball on the very first hole of the tournament, his drive into the rough was not found within the allotted time; he made the triple-boy 7).
Remember when Woods was one of the leading contenders for the Olympics? A year ago, he was currently ranked sixth in the world, number one, in the top four Americans. Now he’s barely in the top 50… where he should be if he wants to make it to the WGC-FedEx. Jude’s invitation to Memphis. The WGC is perfect for this (it takes place the week after the Men’s Olympic Golf Tournament), three weeks after the Open and two weeks before the FedEx Cup playoffs. Big questions: Does he qualify? And where would he be in the FedEx rankings?
Elimination from FedEx Cup
Woods failed to qualify for the 2019 Tour Championship despite winning the Masters and again last year despite winning the Zozo Championship. For the past three years, he has shown a penchant for playing all games when needed.
This year, the Northern Trust (August 19-22) returns to Liberty National, where it was eliminated after just one round in 2019; the BMW Championship (August 26-29) takes place at a new location at Caves Valley Golf Club in Maryland; and the Tour Championship (September 2-5) returns to East Lake, Atlanta, where Woods won in 2018 – and has not yet returned.
It’s the same story: Woods’ physical condition, his ability to train and compete, will determine his level of play in 2021. After missing two tournaments he should have played, and perhaps more, it seems Woods could have played a maximum of 10 tournaments before the FedEx Cup playoffs. It’s hard to imagine him playing more than that. And maybe even one or two less. The focus, as always, is on the major championships. From there, his feelings and motivation to qualify for the FedEx Cup qualifiers will likely determine what we see from him.
tiger woods 2020, pga schedule, pga championship 2020, fuzzy zoeller