Tiger Woods: Where and when will he play next?

Matt Roberts/USA TODAY Sports

Tiger Woods: Where and when will he play next?

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods: Where and when will he play next?

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Tiger Woods matched Sam Snead with his 82nd victory at the PGA Tour’s Zozo Championship in late October. It left his fans yearning for more and wondering when he will play next.

Woods elected not to play in the upcoming RSM Classic at the Sea Island Golf Club in Georgia, which means his next start in an official Tour event won’t happen until the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the earliest.

But Woods has already confirmed that he will play at the Hero World Challenge, an 18-man, no-cut event that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, which begins Dec. 4 at The Albany Club in the Bahamas. Then it is straight to Melbourne, Australia, for The Presidents Cup. Woods will become the first playing captain in the biennial event since Hale Irwin in 1994. Woods is required to play at least one match before the Sunday singles.

When will he make his 2020 debut?

That still remains a mystery. As previously noted, he’s eligible for the winners-only Tournament of Champions in Maui, but he skipped it last year even after gaining eligibility  as winner of the Tour Championship and hasn’t appeared at Kapalua since 2005 despite a memorable victory there in 2000.

More likely, Woods will make his 2020 debut at his usual starting spot, the Farmers Insurance Open (Jan. 23-26) in San Diego, where he’s won eight times at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods has yet to commit there, but he’s already done so for the Genesis Invitational, Feb. 13-16. He’s still never won at Riviera Country Club.

Given his myriad injuries, Woods will likely continue with a less is more schedule. So, it will be surprising to see him sign up to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he once made the whole state of Arizona shake with a hole-in-one at TPC Scottsdale’s 16th, but also couldn’t break 80 with the chipping yips during his last appearance in 2015. Nor is he likely to be in the mood for the six-hour rounds, potentially cold weather and bumpy greens of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

After his hosting duties at the Genesis Invitational, Woods has been a loyal attendee of WGC’s and could test his stamina by teeing it up two weeks in a row with a start at the WGC-Mexico Championship in Mexico City. If his body cooperates, the Honda Classic, despite being a home game for Woods and the start of the Florida Swing, will be a scheduling casualty as it is doubtful he will choose to play three in a row. That’s too much golf for his back and knee at this stage in his career.

Woods missed the Arnold Palmer Invitational last year. That has been a favorite hunting ground for him and site of eight of his victories. It’s a safe bet that if the body is willing this time, he’ll be there, and the week after is The Players Championship, where Woods is a two-time champion.

In 2018, Woods finished second at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook. The course fits his eye, but don’t count on Woods showing up unless he’s had to alter his schedule for health reasons or feels the sudden urge to add a start in his run up to the Masters if he’s missed a bunch of cuts and looking for reps.

Last year, Woods made his final tuneup for Augusta at the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas. There’s the potential to have to play a lot of golf should Woods go far in the competition, including 36 on Saturday, so his participation here could be subject to change.

All of this leads up to April 9, and Tiger’s defense of the green jacket. That can’t come soon enough, but there should be a respectable number of early-season starts to see Woods and his chase for Tour title No. 83.

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