As expected, Tiger Woods will not play in all of the PGA Tour’s upcoming Florida Swing events. Shortly before his opening round on Thursday at the WGC-Mexico Championship, Woods announced he would be skipping next week’s Honda Classic, while officially adding the following two weeks’ events, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Players, to his schedule.
The decision to not play the Honda Classic is a bit of a surprise when you factor in the proximity of PGA National to Woods’ home in Jupiter, Fla. However, having already played at last week’s Genesis Open, an event that benefits Woods’ foundation, adding Honda to these other events would have meant Woods playing at least five consecutive weeks. Also, Woods’ record at Bay Hill, where he’s won eight times, was certainly a factor. Tiger has never won in four starts as a pro at the Honda.
Following his comeback campaign in 2018, an “exhausted” Woods said he planned on playing a more limited schedule. Not too surprising considering he’s a 43-year-old golfer with a fused back.
Woods didn’t specify if he would play in the Valspar Championship, which is the week following the Players. However, it seems unlikely he would play at Innisbrook despite nearly winning in his debut there last year because with the WGC-Match Play the following week, that would likely mean four consecutive starts.
Woods isn’t the first high-profile player to struggle with making his schedule under the new, more compact slate that features the Players back in March from May and the PGA Championship moved up to May from August. Phil Mickelson didn’t play in his hometown event at Torrey Pines for the first time in 29 years and recently hinted he might not tee it up at the Players, the PGA Tour’s flagship event.
Woods, who is coming off a T-15 at Riviera in his second start of 2019, is playing alongside Bryson DeChambeau and Abraham Ancer in the first two rounds of the WGC-Mexico Championship beginning Thursday. Although, technically, he’s a seven-time winner of the event, it’s the first time he’s playing competitively in Mexico.
By Brian Wacker
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — Two days after playing 30 holes, Tiger Woods went another 28 on Sunday at Riviera Country Club. It proved a cold reminder that he is, after all, a fused-together 43 years old.
“Yeah, I got tired,” Woods said following a final-round one-over 72 to end his week at the Genesis Open at six under and tied for 15th. “I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I definitely felt it.”
He wasn’t. But Tiger was the only one playing to have undergone four back surgeries. Still, for a while he put on a show.
Woods’ day began at 6:45 a.m.—or at 1:30 a.m., the time he said he woke up to get ready for the resumption of the third round. And after getting up and down from just short of the green to save par at the 17th when play resumed, he added an eagle at the par-5 first for his second eagle of the round.
It brought him within five of the lead with a lot of golf still to be played as he closed out a third-round 65.
Teeing off in the final round 40 minutes later, he kept the momentum going with three birdies in his first seven holes on Riviera’s back nine to climb into a tie for fifth.
The bad news was that he was still eight strokes off the lead. The worse news was that he followed with four bogeys in a six-hole span to quickly fade.
It didn’t help any that the temperature dipped and the wind picked up throughout the afternoon, making the course as difficult as it had played the entire week.
Neither did some of the places Woods hit it. Or how he putted it.
On the par-4 second, Woods badly pulled his second shot from the right rough, going long and left of the green and leaving an awkward shot from a downhill lie that he wasn’t able to get up and down from.
Then came a long three-putt from 60 feet on the third and another from 30 feet on the fifth. Sayonara.
Woods called this one of the worst putting weeks he has had, which was true given he had round that included four three-putts (his opening round), and just 50 feet, 6 inches of putts made in the final round.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” Woods said. “Those clubs aren’t coming out of the travel case.”
It won’t be long, though. Woods will head to Mexico City on Monday for next week’s WGC-Mexico Championship and his third start of the year.