At the conclusion of his up-and-down T40 finish at the Memorial Tournament, Tiger Woods was pressed for his upcoming schedule. Woods never skips a major if he can help it, but did he feel like he needed more competitive reps before showing up to the PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in early August?
He answered the question with another question.
“Competitive reps or more reps?” he asked, then answered on his own. “More reps, yes.”
He dealt with the logical followup — yes, we mean competitive reps — like an easy pitch shot. “I definitely need more reps.”
On Friday, he confirmed what we suspected that already meant: Woods is skipping next week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational in Memphis, meaning we won’t see him back in action until the first major of the year, the PGA Championship, August 6-9.
“Disappointed to miss @WGCFedEx, but doing what I think is best to prepare me for the @PGAChampionship and upcoming FedExCup Playoffs,” he announced on Twitter.
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) July 24, 2020
On the one hand, the move is surprising because it means that Woods will enter his first major of 2020 with just four competitive rounds of golf under his belt since February. It also means that he’ll head to Harding Park coming off two performances — 60th at the Genesis, T40 at Memorial — that don’t suggest a player in top form.
On the other hand, Woods has established that he expects to play a limited schedule, and so it should come as no surprise that he’s reluctant to make starts in back-to-back weeks in Memphis and San Francisco. While he may have looked rusty for moments at Memorial, Woods will likely lean on the way he approached last fall’s Zozo Championship. Woods entered the tournament in Japan coming off two uninspiring showings — WD and T37 — followed by two months off. Then he won the event.
TPC Harding Park will provide a far different test, of course, and will include a full field of the world’s very best golfers. That’s where we’ll see Woods next.
The other notable takeaway from Woods’ tweet was his reference to the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Buoyed by the Zozo win, Woods sits at No. 42 in the FedEx Cup standings, meaning he’s a lock to be in the Northern Trust at TPC Boston, likely to advance to the BMW at Olympia Fields the following week and will need some strong finishes to make it back to the Tour Championship, which he won in 2018.
As always, Woods leaves us with more questions than answers, particularly these: If he qualifies, will he play all three FedEx Cup events consecutively? Will the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, scheduled for two weeks after the Tour Championship, affect his decision-making at all? Will he be traveling to Japan to defend his title at the Zozo Championship in October? And will he play any events that aren’t typically on his schedule to prepare for the fall Masters in November?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We know Woods’ next two planned starts: The PGA Championship (TPC Harding Park, Aug. 6-9) and the Northern Trust (TPC Boston, Aug. 20-23). When it comes to Woods these days, that’s about as much planning as we can get.
Article originally appeared on: Golf.com