When the PGA Tour schedule was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic and a new slate was thrown together, it begged two big questions. The first was, "What would it look like?" and the second was, "How would it affect Tiger Woods?" We received our answer to the first one months ago, and we are currently in the middle of the Tour's restart. Our answer to the second one was received in July when Woods made his debut at the Memorial Tournament where he finished T40.
With a wonky last half of the year, everyone's rhythm will be in flux. If you catch a heater at the proper time, you could feasibly rip off two or three majors in a 12-month stretch from August 2020 to August 2021 and it wouldn't seem preposterous. There will be a cost, though. Golfers -- after months off -- will be playing a lot.
This is both good and bad news. For younger players like Collin Morikawa and Viktor Hovland, this has been a good thing. Morikawa has won, and Hovland's statistical profile suggests that he should have. For older golfers with nagging injuries -- like the Big Cat -- it could pose more problems.
So with four rounds down for Woods and confirmation that he's skipping the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, here's where I think Woods will play the rest of the season, including an appearance at the first major of the year.
2019-20 PGA Tour schedule (revised)
- July 16-19: The Memorial Tournament -- T40
- July 23-26: 3M Open -- No
- July 29-Aug. 2: WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational -- No
- July 29-Aug. 2: Barracuda Championship -- No
- Aug. 6-9: PGA Championship -- Yes
- Aug. 13-16: Wyndham Championship -- No
- Aug. 20-23: The Northern Trust -- No
- Aug. 27-30: BMW Championship -- Yes
- Sept. 4-7: Tour Championship -- Yes (if qualified)
Woods didn't rush back. Everything for him has been about prepping for the PGA Championship, the U.S. Open and the Masters. He hasn't been in a hurry simply because he's been playing "Call of Duty" and doing puzzles with his kids for five months.
Woods was never going to sweat it out in Memphis the week before a major. He rarely plays a major as the second part of a back-to-back. Load management and all. However, it's pretty strange that he's played just four rounds in the six months leading into the PGA.
"I definitely need more reps," he said after Memorial.
He won't get them.
The FedEx Cup Playoffs will be weird. I think Woods skips the first event and doesn't push it to get to the Tour Championship -- not with the PGA Championship so close in the rearview and the U.S. Open on deck a few weeks later. If it happens it happens, but he's currently 41st and will likely be passed between now and then by golfers who are playing more. Remember the top 70 make it to the BMW Championship (the penultimate event) and the top 30 make it to the Tour Championship finale.
Now let's take a look at the fall.
2020-21 PGA Tour schedule (fall)
- Sept. 10-13: Safeway Open -- No
- Sept. 17-20: U.S. Open -- Yes
- Sept. 24-27: Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship -- No
- Oct. 1-4: Sanderson Farms Championship -- No
- Oct. 8-11: Shriners Hospitals for Children Open -- No
- Oct. 15-18: CJ Cup -- No
- Oct. 22-25: Zozo Championship -- Yes
- Oct. 29-Nov. 1: WGC-HSBC Champions -- No
- Oct. 29-Nov. 1: Bermuda Championship -- No
- Nov. 5-8: Houston Open -- No
- Nov. 12-15: Masters -- Yes
- Nov. 19-22: RSM Classic -- No
- Dec. 3-6: Mayakoba Golf Classic -- No
This part of the schedule seems more straightforward. The Zozo Championship is a good halfway point between the Ryder Cup and the Masters, and he's the defending champion at both the Zozo and Augusta. By this point, he shouldn't need a ton of reps for Augusta, and taking two weeks off before defending his green jacket would be perfect.
This could all obviously change in a hurry. Woods, who noted that he would have been good to go for the Masters in April had it been played, might need extra rest or some of these events might be delayed or canceled altogether. But as of today, Woods playing six times the rest of the year seems like a reasonable proposition.