After opting not to play between April’s Masters win and last week’s PGA Championship, Tiger Woods won’t follow the same barren schedule before the season’s next major. Woods announced Thursday that he will play in next week’s Memorial Tournament, which will be a final tuneup before the U.S. Open (June 13-16) at Pebble Beach.
Of course, the decision isn’t surprising given the stature of the annual event hosted by 18-time major champ Jack Nicklaus. Woods has previously played in the tournament on 16 occasions, winning a record five times.
After winning a fifth green jacket in April, Woods chose not to play ahead of the PGA, most notably, skipping the Wells Fargo Championship in early May. At Bethpage Black, he battled a balky driver and putter as well as an illness that kept him from practicing on the eve of the tournament. Woods hit just three of 14 fairways during Friday’s 73 to miss the cut by one shot.
“Just wasn’t moving the way I needed to. That’s the way it goes,” Woods said after his second round at the PGA. “There’s going to be days and weeks where it’s just not going to work, and today was one of those days.”
After a successful comeback campaign in 2018 that ended with a victory at the Tour Championship, Woods said he planned to play less this season. The 43-year-old has kept that promise, withdrawing ahead of two tournaments he usually plays, the Wells Fargo and the Arnold Palmer Invitational (neck strain). But while the rest of his schedule for this year is yet to be finalized, we now know he’ll back at Jack’s place next week.
Woods’ most recent victory at Muirfield Village came in 2012, and featured a holed flop shot on the 16th hole during the final round that Nicklaus called, “the most unbelievably gutsy shot I’ve ever seen.”
With one more win, Woods will tie Sam Snead’s record for the most PGA Tour titles with 82. Doing it with Nicklaus present would make the historic moment even more special.