Tiger Woods Will NOT Play in Next Week's Players Championship, He's On To Augusta
Tiger Woods will not play in next week's Players Championship, ending some speculation that the 15-time major champion might try to build on an impressive showing at the Genesis Invitational by adding another event before the Masters.
Woods, 47, made his first start in a non-major championship at last month's Genesis at Riviera, where he opened with a two-under 69 and posted a 67 on Saturday. Woods finished tied for 45th and a full 16 shots back of the winner, Jon Rahm, but had more speed and endurance than he did during any of his three starts in 2022. Woods' ball speed was consistently in the mid 170s and his limp looked a bit less pronounced that it had in recent months.
Woods has said that his goal this year is to play all four majors, and all signs point toward his playing in the Masters. He stopped short of confirming that the Genesis would be his last event before then, instead responding to any questions about his schedule with a long-winded version of I don't know.
"Like I told you guys last year, I'm not going to play any more than probably the majors and maybe a couple more," he said after a three-over 74 on Sunday. "That's it, that's all my body will allow me to do. My back the way it is, all the surgeries I had on my back, my leg the way it is, I just can't. That's just going to be my future. So my intent last year was to play in all four majors, I got three of the four. Hopefully this year I can get all four and maybe sprinkle in a few here and there. But that's it for the rest of my career. I know that and I understand that. That's just my reality."
In addition to dealing with his surgically rebuilt right leg, Woods still deals with back tightness and pain in connection with his spinal fusion surgery in 2017. There's also the plantar fasciitis that kept him out of the Hero World Challenge, an injury he said is indeed related to all the trauma to his right leg.
Woods is a two-time winner of the Players Championship but has not played the event since 2019, a few months before he won that year's Masters. Woods did not enter the 2020 Players, which was called off after one round due to the emerging COVID-19 situation, due to a neck injury. He missed both the 2021 and 2022 editions with an injury.
It's virtually certain that Woods' next appearance will come at Augusta National, where he is a five-time champion. The field for the Players will feature 43 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings.