Tiger Woods schedule: What it will take for him to play the Honda Classic
Big Cat discussed a wide variety of topics on Tuesday in Los Angeles, including his future schedule
On Tuesday, Tiger Woods spoke with the media ahead of his first appearance at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club since 2006. Woods talked about the golf course, his foundation, his future plans and how his health is progressing.
He will tee it up for the second time this year on Thursday in Round 1 of the event with playing partners Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. That threesome represents the premiere group over the first two days at Riviera, and it might be the first part of a two-week stretch where we see Woods.
Tiger has played the Honda Classic near his home in Florida a few times over the years (most notably from 2012-14), but he remains uncommitted to the event, which is next week. Woods has until Friday to commit. When he was asked what the impetus for that decision will be, he played coy.
"Just not to feel sore, to feel like I can play all-out again within, what, three days off," Woods said. "To be able to go at it full bore again. That's something that I've been trying to do at home and trying to simulate rounds where I go full bore at it, but it's never the same as in a tournament.
"I try to get myself as fired up as possible to try and hit shots as hard as I would in a tournament or shape shots and do all the weird things I like to do, but it's just not the same. I think it would be a great sign if I do play, I think it would be a smart sign if I didn't play."
I'm not sure about Woods' on-course game, but he's as good as ever at dodging press conference questions! He'll only have one day (or at most, two) to determine his soreness level because of the Friday deadline. Woods went on to talk about why a healthy back has helped him not only play pain-free, but make little tweaks that he wasn't able to make previously.
"I'd eventually like to win tournaments," Woods said. "I'm trying to get through that process, go through that process, get to that point. I was telling (Justin Thomas) last night when we were flying out here that ... I'm making small little subtle changes in my posture and my game and my swing because I'm starting to understand my body a little bit more with this back that's different than it used to be.
"Those are things that I could never have figured that out on my own not in a tournament setting. In a tournament setting, things are ramped up and I could feel some of the things were off and was able to work on them. The more tournaments I play in, the more I'll be able to get a better understanding of that. But also I don't want to play too much. This is still all new to me and I just want to be real smart about it."
Being smart about it is a good thing, of course, but it would be odd to me if he didn't play the Honda Classic because everything that's happening right now is simply pre-Masters preparation. What are the best spots to get the most reps? Woods will presumably miss the WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Match Play because he won't qualify. That leaves Honda, the Valspar Championship, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Houston Open as possible landing spots.
He will almost certainly play the Arnold Palmer, where he has won seven times, but are we really only going to see him one more time after Riviera and before Augusta? That seems unlikely, which means when the chips are down on Friday afternoon, I'm guessing Woods makes the call and says he's playing at PGA National next weekend.
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