Much of the chatter around Tiger Woods's early exit from the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black was around his decision to not play any tournament golf between the Masters and the PGA. That won't be the case between the PGA and the U.S. Open as Woods has committed to play the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village next week, a place where he's won five times.
The most recent of Tiger's wins there came back in 2012 when he beat Rory Sabbatini and Andres Romero by two strokes each. Woods also won at this tournament, which is hosted by Jack Nicklaus, in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2009. He's only played the event three times since that win in 2012. The first two were poor showings in 2013 and 2015, and the other was last year when he finished T23 with one of the worst putting performances of his life.
Woods bowed out at Bethpage last week after shooting 72-73 and missing the cut by a single stroke. It was just his 19th missed cut on the PGA Tour and his ninth at a major championship.
One of the emerging narratives out of Bethpage is that maybe Woods didn't prepare for the second major of the season as well as he did the first. That might be true, but his mistakes at the PGA were tiny errors that seemed to compound. I'm not sure that playing between those tournaments would have done more than placate a fan base looking for reasons why Woods struggled.
Still, after a lousy performance in which neither his body nor his clubs seemed in sync with his mind, it would be nice for Woods to erase that recent memory with a good showing at a place where he's had loads of success.
"Yeah, there's no reason why I can't get up to speed again and crank it back up," Woods said after the PGA. "I've got to start feeling a little bit better first before that happens. We'll do that first and then start cranking it back up again.
"I just wasn't moving the way I needed to. That's the way it goes. There's going to be days and weeks where it's just not going to work, and today was one of those days."
Woods has noted that he'll play a minimalist's schedule this season, and there's a chance that the only tournaments he plays through the Open Championship in July are Memorial and the remaining two majors.
He also continues to play at places where he feels most comfortable. Of the nine tournaments he has committed to (through the U.S. Open), he's won multiple times at eight of them, five or more times at four of them and has averaged four wins per event over the course of his elite career.