Watching Tiger Woods win the Masters was all-time-sports-moments exciting. But Woods skipping Quail Hollow was interesting, and his MC at Bethpage Black — his first missed cut since last year’s U.S. Open — showed a golfer who looked out of sorts. What does that mean for Woods’ schedule going forward?
Here’s what we know, and what we don’t, about when we’ll see Woods in competition next.
THE MEMORIAL, May 30-June 2
YES. Woods only skipped Arnie’s event in Orlando because of injury concerns and because it was at a tight spot in his schedule. He definitely won’t skip Jack’s event in Columbus, and officially committed to the event on Thursday, a week before the event is scheduled to begin.
Muirfield Village has been plenty hospitable to Woods throughout his career — he won in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009 and 2012 — and he even threatened to contend last year before late mistakes saw him slip to T23.
U.S. OPEN, June 13-16
YES. Watching Tiger Woods attack Pebble Beach 19 years after his 15-shot victory is guaranteed to be a treat. Everything about Pebble this year will be a treat. It’s Pebble Beach! It’s the U.S. Open! Woods announced his commitment to Pebble, too — not that we needed it.
TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP — June 20–23
NO. One question: Why would he? The Travelers has done impressive work attracting fields, but if there’s no super-compelling answer to that question, you already have your answer.
ROCKET MORTGAGE CLASSIC — June 20–23
DOUBTFUL. Now this is where it gets interesting. An entire month between tournaments is less than ideal, which would point towards Woods playing either two or three weeks before the British Open. Three weeks ahead puts him in Detroit for the debut Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. The event has already landed Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson; can they land the big prize?
Woods has played well historically in the Midwest — he’s won 13 times in Ohio, seven times in Illinois, and even three times in Michigan. Time to get back? I’d lean towards no. That’s because…
3M OPEN — July 4-7
MAYBE. Woods does tend to like that two-weeks-before-a-major approach, which leaves Minnesotan tournament organizers feeling optimistic about leg two of the newly minted Midwest swing. If he plays well at the Memorial and then again at the U.S. Open, his two-weeks-before may gain steam as a better approach than his pre-Bethpage prep.
Tournament Director Hollis Cavner went on the record with this optimistic bit, according to WCCO: “We had talks with him already, and he likes to play two weeks before a major. Go back and look at his record. Two weeks before every major, he plays,” Cavner told Dave Lee. “Tiger’s people said the same thing, if he plays anywhere he’ll play us, not anywhere else. Let me tell you, these guys are very regimented in their schedules and how they prep.”
The field is already loaded: Phil Mickelson, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Tony Finau have committed. Its appealing place in the schedule means we could see Woods, too. I’m leaning towards yes, but I wouldn’t bet money on it.
SCOTTISH OPEN, July 11-14
NO. Here’s a prediction: You will hear people suggesting Woods will play the Scottish Open to prep for the British. You may hear that tournament organizers are targeting him, and that they’re in talks with his camp. My prediction is that these predictions will be a bunch of nothing. Woods feels plenty confident in his game to stick to his routine, which includes not playing tournament golf the week before a major.
BRITISH OPEN, July 18-21
YES. Next question.
WGC-FEDEX ST. JUDE INVITATIONAL OPEN, July 25-28
YES. This is a Presidents Cup captain looking to cement his status as playing captain. He played WGC-Mexico. He won’t skip this one, not unless he picks up multiple wins between now and then.
WYNDHAM CHAMPIONSHIP, Aug. 1-4
THE NORTHERN TRUST, Aug. 8-11
YES. If there were still four FedEx Cup playoff events, I’d say he’ll skip one. No chance now.
BMW CHAMPIONSHIP, Aug. 15-18
YES. He’ll be in the top 70, and he’ll play.
YES. The defending champ! He’ll be back.