Tiger declined to say when and where he’ll tune up for the Masters, but we have a good idea what his early 2018 schedule will look like.
With Tiger Woods’ successful comeback to competitive golf in the books, the golf world is eager to know where the returning superstar will tee it up next.
According to Woods, who finished last week’s Hero World Challenge tied for ninth at 8-under — and more important, with no pain in his surgically repaired back — his upcoming schedule remains a mystery even to him. What is not an enigma is that the 14-time major champion will fill in his calendar with the first grand slam event of the season in mind.
“That’s a great question. I think that we’re going to sit down here, we’re going to figure out what’s the best way for me to build my schedule for the major championships,” Woods told reporters after a final-round 4-under 68 in the 18-player exhibition in the Bahamas. “Play, how much, what my training cycles are going to be, and play enough but don’t play too much. I don’t know what golf courses I’ll be playing and what’s the best way to go about it. We’ll sit down with the whole team and we’ll figure it out.”
Joey was good afterward. Said he has no clue about future schedule but, if Tiger feels good, would hope he plays Torrey. Believes Tiger’s days of going overseas (Dubai) are over.
— GC Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) December 1, 2017
It certainly makes sense for Tiger to be cautious after his plans to play four times in five weeks early last year after a 15-month layoff ended before the second round of his scheduled second start. And while Woods may not be willing or yet able to divulge where he’ll tune up for the Masters, if history is any indication, we can, with a reasonable amount of confidence, map his upcoming road to Augusta that would take him from January through March:
- Farmers Insurance Open or Dubai Desert Classic (Jan. 25-28) — It would seem that Torrey Pines, where he has eight victories including the 2008 U.S. Open (but with a T80, withdrawal, and missed cut in his last three appearances at La Jolla), has a better chance of hosting the 14-time major winner than the event at which he recorded that miserable first-round 77 last year before withdrawing. There’s also that whole plane ride around the world with a bad back problem.
- Genesis Open (Feb. 15-18) — It’s possible the Phoenix Open (Feb. 1-4) and/or Pebble Beach Pro-Am (Feb. 8-11) are in play. But since it’s improbable Woods will play so many tourneys in so few weeks, we’re guessing Riviera, where he made his 1992 professional debut, will land Tiger. Even though Woods has never won the Los Angeles contest, the Genesis benefits his foundation and he’s in his second year of hosting. Expect him to tee it up at one of the Tour’s great, classic courses.
- Honda Classic (Feb. 22-25) — The Honda, in Palm Beach Gardens, is practically in Woods’ back yard.
- Arnold Palmer Invitational (March 15-18) — Woods also has eight wins at Bay Hill.
As he preps for a busy 2018 campaign, Tiger will try to stay sharp playing money games with his pals at his home course in Florida.
“I’m sure the guys will have some denominations [Tiger lingo for cash] they want to play for,” he said. “JT [Justin Thomas, Woods’ first- and fourth-round playing partner at the Hero] was already alluding to that as we were playing today so when we go home, these guys are awesome, they want to play almost every day. They want to compete, they want to see me back out there, and it’s really nice to have that type of camaraderie.”
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