July 24, 2024
Tiger Woods

The odds appear to be stacked against Tiger Woods as he heads to the US Open next week without competitive preparation, and fans’ hopes he would play at The Memorial Tournament have been dashed
Tiger Woods fans have been left disappointed after a “teaser” that he would make his PGA Tour return this week at The Memorial Tournament proved to be unrelated.

The tournament is hosted by golf icon Jack Nicklaus at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, and is one of the most prestigious titles on the PGA Tour. And the event’s official social media account got fans talking last week when it posted the eyes emoji without context, leading many fans to speculate that it was a cryptic hint that Woods would tee it up when the tournament begins on Thursday.

But those hopes were misguided with the field for the signature event confirmed on Monday, with Woods a noticeable absentee from the list. Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and reigning champion Viktor Hovland will all be involved.

Tiger Woods has played in just three PGA Tour-sanctioned events since having reconstructive ankle surgery after the 2023 Masters to address issues lingering from a high-speed car accident in 2021. His first appearance of the year came at February’s Genesis Invitational, but he withdrew in the second round due to a bout of flu.

The 28-year-old played in The Masters in April and made the cut, but the lack of competitive rounds under his belt told as he finished in 60th place at 16-over-par – a far cry from the force he was when he donned the green jacket five times at Augusta National.

Tiger Woods
Woods was a shadow of his former self at last month’s PGA Championship ( Image: Getty Images)

The 15-time major champion took a month off before the PGA Championship in May, and before the tournament, he admitted he was lacking sharpness due to his limited schedule. He went on to miss the cut after shooting seven-over-par across the first two rounds in low-scoring conditions at Valhalla.

“My body’s okay,” Woods said before his opening round in Kentucky. “It is what it is. I wish my game was a little bit sharper. Again, I don’t have a lot of competitive reps, so I am having to rely on my practice sessions and getting stuff done either at home or here on-site.”

Tiger Woods has received a special exemption to play in next week’s US Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina, and a consensus formed in the wake of his performance at Valhalla that he needs to compete more often if he is to stand up to the test of a major championship and do himself justice.

Memorial and a 70-strong field packed with the leading players on the PGA Tour would have represented a welcome opportunity to tune his game under tournament conditions, but it appears he believes his body cannot handle two tournaments within the space of a week. The chances of him making a significant impression at Pinehurst, therefore, seem remote.

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