Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Tiger Woods has laid out a plan for the 2024 season, stating that his best scenario for a return to golf is to potentially play one tournament per month.

He suggested a scenario of playing the Genesis Invitational in February and then finding a tournament for March before the majors begin in April.

“I need to get myself ready for all that. I think this week is a step in that direction,” he said at a Tuesday news conference at the Hero World Challenge, the golf tournament he hosts annually in the Bahamas. “I’m just as curious as all of you are to see what happens. … I don’t have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre that in my ankle.”

Woods withdrew from the Masters on April 9 due to plantar fasciitis and underwent a subsequent ankle surgery that month. The foot condition also caused him to withdraw from the 2022 Hero World Challenge.

The 15-time majors champion said although he’s pain-free in his ankle, his aches and pains have moved to his knees and back. Despite that, Woods “absolutely” still believes he can win tournaments.

Woods, 47, will tee off for Tuesday’s Hero World Challenge practice round at 11:52 a.m. ET with Justin Thomas. The 23rd iteration of the event begins Nov. 30 and features multiple PGA stars, including Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa and Scottie Scheffler.

Talk of the PGA Tour working to land a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund before the Dec. 31 deadline dominated Tuesday’s news conference. Woods said both sides are working together with “no animosity.”

PGA Tour players were blindsided by the PGA’s framework agreement with the PIF, which owns LIV Golf, on June 6 to merge their commercial operations. PGA golfers were kept in the dark about the deal and later reportedly sent PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan a letter demanding a review of the tour’s power structure.

In response to the players’ unrest, the tour added a sixth player seat to the player directors on the all-powerful PGA Tour policy board in August: Woods.

Tiger Woods the board member

Woods does not seem sure of what professional golf will look like in a year. He wasn’t necessarily confident a PGA Tour deal with PIF will happen by the deadline, and the most he provided in terms of contingencies was to say there were “other options” if a deal doesn’t get done.

But the primary takeaway was how authoritative he was as a new board member stating plainly that players need more power in the tour’s decision-making process and how frustrated he was about Monahan making the framework agreement with PIF behind his back. Woods seems incredibly engaged in his new role and making sure he steers golf in the right direction, even if there’s still a very murky road ahead. — Brody Miller, golf staff writer

Why he’s making another comeback

The most important detail from Tuesday was that Woods is not in pain. He hasn’t played much golf and has no idea how it will go this week, but that part can get worked out over the next few months. The key for Woods is he can caddie for his son Charlie and walk 90 holes over the next week without pain, something he has not been able to say for years. When asked if he thinks he can still win events, though, he confidently said, “Absolutely,” so you know the root of it is he just wants to keep competing.

His saying the hope is to play one tournament a month next season is jarring considering the horrific car wreck he was in two years ago and the surgery he had this spring. No, Woods will never be the star he once was again, but if he can be healthy and play without pain, there remains a future for Woods to play golf on the big stages. — Miller

Required reading

(Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty)

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