Where will we see Tiger Woods in 2023? He laid out his schedule goal
While we won’t see Tiger Woods tee it up this week at the Hero World Challenge, he offered some clarity on where we might see him in the coming year.
This week was set to be the first of three events in as many weeks for Woods, but difficulty walking from plantar fasciitis is forcing him to withdraw from the Hero this week, which he also hosts.
“I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want, I just can’t walk,” Woods said at a pre-tournament press conference Tuesday. “And so I’ve had a few setbacks during the year that I still was able to somehow play through, but this one I just can’t.”
His next two commitments are next week’s The Match VI and the following weekend’s PNC Championship with his son Charlie, both events in which he can take a cart.
Woods was set to double his number of appearances for the year in December after just playing in the Masters, PGA Championship and Open Championship, but despite this week’s setback, he actually has ambitions of ramping up that schedule in 2023.
“The goal [for next year] is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more,” Woods said. “That’s it.”
Woods said previously he was physically unable to compete at the U.S. Open last June at Brookline but now it appears he plans on adding the event he’s won three times back to his schedule.
Woods finished first in the PGA Tour’s PIP the last two seasons which technically means he’s supposed to play in 20 events on the PGA Tour next season. The four majors and two more events clearly don’t add to that, but given his injuries and standing as one of the greatest players of all time, he probably can earn an exemption from that requirement.
That or he just simply chooses not to take the entirety of his $15 million in PIP winnings.
As for the one or two others he wants to add, it’s easy to guess a goal would be the Genesis Invitational, another event he hosts. Of course, that event is in February, which isn’t all that far away and Woods could reasonably choose to shut everything down again after the PNC until the Masters.
The other mainstays on his schedule were the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Memorial. Playing March’s Arnold Palmer, if he chooses to play before April, would give him a month off before the Masters while the Memorial is just two weeks before the U.S. Open.
Woods may also choose to play in the Players, also in March, but given his limitations and his history, picking two of the three from the Genesis, API and Memorial seem like the most likely bets.
And based on his comments, it would definitely not be all three or any more.
“Physically, that’s all I can do,” Woods said. “I told you that, guys, you know, the beginning of this year, too. I mean, that’s— I don’t have much left in this leg, so gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, you know, lightning catches in a bottle and I’m up there in contention with a chance to win and hopefully I remember how to do that. But again, giving myself a chance to get out there again.”
Woods said he never expected to play the Masters or the PGA last year and was just hoping to play in the 150th Open at St. Andrews, where he won two of his three British Opens and a course that likely won’t host again until 2030 when Woods will be 54.
He made a memorable stroll down 18 before missing the cut in July but said then it wouldn’t be the last time he would play an Open. Woods reiterated that if he’s going to tee it up in big events, he won’t do so unless he thinks he could win, and that applies to potentially playing in another Open Championship at St. Andrews.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it back one more time as a player in the tournament,” Woods said of playing the Old Course. “I probably will go back and play it at some point with Charlie and have a great time, but I think [the next Open is], what? Eight years away, I believe? That’s a— I don’t know what this leg is going to look like in eight years. Hopefully, it’s still attached, but we’ll see.
“And I just don’t want to go back and just say farewell. I want to win the damn thing. I mean, that’s what I thought I could do this year. I was doing everything right and then all of a sudden it just— my leg just wasn’t working properly.”
One thing Woods said would not do to reach his goal of playing five or six times next season? Take a cart.
“I think [walking] is an integral part of the game at our level and I will never take a golf cart until it’s sanctioned,” Woods said. “It’s sanctioned on the Champions Tour and the PNC is part of that. As far as a regular event, no, I would never do that.”
It’s not a surprising take from Woods, who made a similar comment last year when asked about it at the PNC.
He also brought up Casey Martin’s famous lawsuit against the PGA Tour to use a cart in competition under the Americans With Disabilities Act. Martin won that fight, but Woods said he voted against his former college teammate.
He has no problem using carts at the Match either since the event is set up for it.
If he could use a cart, Woods said he could have played this week, but part of his recovery and return will rely on being able to walk 72 holes.
“When I was at home, I was shooting 4, 5, 6, 7 under par like it was nothing, but I was in a cart,” he said Tuesday. “Now you add in walking and that goes away. So I need to get to where I— that point is where I can actually walk around and play that way, like all of you guys can.”