Ranking Tiger Woods' best chances at winning his record-tying 82nd career PGA Tour event in 2019
What will Big Cat's schedule look like the rest of the year? Here's when win No. 82 may come in 2019
In the week following the 2019 Masters, the PGA Tour unsurprisingly released a marketing campaign centered around Tiger Woods' potential 82nd PGA Tour victory. Woods, of course, just won his 81st PGA Tour event -- with the joke being that it was also the dang Masters! -- and is poised to tie Sam Snead's all-time record of 82 PGA Tour victories with his next. One victory past that would make him the winningest golfer in PGA Tour history with 83.
The question now, especially with the year's first major in his back pocket, is whether that could all happen in 2019. The astonishing part is that it was not much more than a year ago when it seemed like it might never happen. But now with a handful of tournaments left on the 2018-19 calendar, Woods could feasibly catch Snead and even surpass him over the next few months.
So what will Woods' always-shrouded schedule potentially look like for the rest of this season, and where will his victories most likely come? Let's rank them from 1-10 based on where I think he's going to play.
1. The Open (July 18-21): This event hasn't gone to Royal Portrush since 1951 when, coincidentally, Snead was busy winning his third PGA Championship at Oakmont the day before the Open started (we've come a long way as it pertains to major championship scheduling). Woods' best chances to win majors in his 40s (and 50s?) were always going to come at Opens because he's a genius and links golf rewards geniuses. There was brief evidence of this last year at Carnoustie as Woods contended on the back nine, and he'll get a chance to one-up that performance at one of the most glorious locales in major championship golf.
2. U.S. Open (June 13-16): Speaking of glorious locales in major championship golf ... I'm not sure if you've heard this, but the U.S. Open is headed this year to a place Woods knows quite well. Big Cat took the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2000 by 15 strokes (always makes me giggle) and finished T4 in 2010 behind Graeme McDowell after firing a 66 on Saturday. Tiger going Augusta-Pebble in the same year might be too much to handle.
3. the Memorial Tournament (May 30 - June 2): He's won at Muirfield Village a record five times with the last one coming in 2012. There are apparently not any lingering ghosts from that ghastly 85 he shot in the third round in 2015 because he got in the mix last year with a 67-68 in the middle two rounds and finished in the top 25 even with the worst putting performance of his season.
4. BMW Championship (Aug. 15-18): Woods has played Medinah twice in stroke play events, and he won both of them -- the 1999 PGA Championship by one over Sergio Garcia and the 2006 PGA Championship by five strokes over Shaun Micheel. It was a long time ago, but the only evidence we have of Woods at Medinah (I'm ignoring that 2012 Ryder Cup performance!) is that he wins here.
5. Tour Championship (Aug. 22-25): I could fake you out by saying he's won every time he's played there since 2014 until you remember that he's only played there once (2018) since 2014. If you dig a little deeper, you realize that he's actually only played here six times since 2005, and he won two of those appearances (2007 and 2018). So given his recent history, long-term history and current form (and the fact that he will definitely be in attendance barring injury), I like his chances!
6. PGA Championship (May 16-19): This year's second major is at Bethpage Black in New York, where Woods has won a U.S. Open (2002) and finished T6 at a U.S. Open after opening with a 74 (2009). The crazy thing here is that Woods has now won a combined seven majors at major venues in 2019, and I think the one he hasn't won at (Portrush) is actually the one he was most likely to win coming into the season (and is most likely to win for the rest of the year).
7. The Northern Trust (Aug. 8-11): It's kind of amazing to me that a course in Liberty National -- where the The Northern Trust is this year -- that has seen two T2 finishes from Woods in 2009 and 2013 at playoff events ranks seventh (!) on this list.
8. WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational July 25-28): Tiger has, probably unsurprisingly, never played TPC Southwind in his career (in events of which I'm aware). Although that graphic showing him as the eight-time winner of this event (from its years at Firestone Country Club) will be glorious.
9. Wells Fargo Championship (May 2-5): Woods won here back in 2007 but didn't play that well last year in his first trip there since he was cut in 2012.
10. 3M Open (July 4-7): I'll put this one last because I don't know that he'll actually play it. The stretch between the U.S. Open and Open Championship this year is odd, and it is a guessing game when he will play considering his promise to reduce his schedule. It goes Travelers Championship, Rocket Mortgage Classic, 3M Open, John Deere Classic and then Open following Pebble Beach. I doubt he plays Travelers or John Deere, which leaves the Rocket Mortgage and 3M. The Rocket Mortgage in Detroit is actually the tournament he used to host in Washington, D.C., so that would be a little bit odd, which leaves us with a July 4th event outside of Minneapolis. It already has a pretty good field, but maybe Woods just takes the month off between the U.S. Open and Open. If he shows, though, he's a contender. Which is still kind of a wild thing to think.
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