Tiger Woods schedule a mystery but Jason Sobel is here to help ESPN golf

Golf


LOS ANGELES — Don’t ask Tiger Woods about his schedule. He doesn’t know.

Not just for the rest of the season. Woods isn’t sure of his plans for next week, even though he only has until Friday afternoon to decide whether he’ll play the Honda Classic or not.

Luckily for him, we’ve taken the liberty of mapping out his schedule for the remainder of the year. We think it’s a nice infusion of old standbys, new entries and a few out-of-the-box ideas. Like, waaayyy out of the box.

Feb. 22-25: Honda Classic

By PGA Tour rule, Tiger will have within 30 minutes of finishing his 12:02 p.m. PT round at this week’s Genesis Open to decide whether he’ll go back-to-back. He won’t need the full time. Bouncing off the final green still feeling energized, Tiger hurries over to the first reporter with a microphone and states, “I can’t wait for this weekend — and next week, too.” You can almost hear the cheers from PGA National, clear across the country.

March 1-4: Puerto Rico Open Charity Tournament

With 18 career WGC victories, Woods is far and away the all-time win leader in this category. But since he hasn’t qualified for the WGC in Mexico, he’ll decide to play the unofficial opposite event in Puerto Rico to raise funds for the Hurricane Maria relief effort. Television ratings for the charity event will eclipse those from Mexico, where Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth face off in a playoff.

March 15-18: Arnold Palmer Invitational

It’s hardly a surprise that the eight-time champion chooses to return to Bay Hill, but his honorariums toward the late tournament host are a nice touch. Playing the event for the first time since Palmer’s death, his shirt features a front-left pocket and his golf bag shows the famous multi-colored umbrella logo.

March 21-25: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

What, like you thought he’d be shut out of WGCs forever? A huge early-year bump in world ranking points and a handful of withdrawals will get Tiger in at the 11th hour. Endearing himself to the Austin locals, Woods explains his unforeseen spot in the field with a shrug and three little words: “Keep Austin weird.”

April 1: Drive, Chip and Putt Championship

No, Tiger isn’t taking on the kids at Augusta National, but he is putting this one on his schedule. Smiling and high-fiving his way around the practice facility, he looks like he’s never had more fun — and sure, he’s building up a few karma points, too.

April 4: Masters Par-3 Contest

Speaking of karma … Tiger eschews his usual Wednesday morning practice round in favor of gearing up for the Par-3, hanging out with his kids on the short course for a few hours before their scheduled tee time.

April 5-8: Masters Tournament

Here’s the free square on the Bingo card of Woods’ schedule. He’s 42 now, but pencil him in at Augusta National for another 30-40 years.

April 26-29: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

From Justin Thomas to Rickie Fowler to Patrick Reed, there are a bevy of young stars who will continually text Tiger in hopes of becoming his partner at this two-man event. Instead, he’ll opt for ol’ buddy Phil Mickelson. And just in case you thought it couldn’t get any better, Louisiana’s own Hal Sutton decides to show up and walk inside the ropes, a knowing grin on his face the entire time.

May 10-13: The Players Championship

In a nod to nostalgia, Woods doesn’t just show up at the first tee of TPC Sawgrass, he shows up wearing the same straw hat with the course logo that he wore during his 1994 U.S. Amateur victory.

May 25-30: NCAA Men’s Golf Championship

He’ll need to magically regain amateur status to fulfill those two more years of eligibility, but Woods will show up at Karsten Creek simply to cheer on his beloved Stanford Cardinal, ranked 11th in the nation after the fall season.

May 31-June 3: Memorial Tournament

A week before this event, Woods calls tournament host Jack Nicklaus and informs him he’ll play Muirfield Village — with a caveat. And so is born the idea of Tiger and Jack as pro-am partners. By the time they reach the turn, full-sized photo prints will already be selling for triple-digits on eBay.

June 7-9: National Hickory Championship

Rather than compete in Memphis or hunker down in his backyard practice range, Woods will choose to prep for the year’s second major while dusting off the hickory clubs and hitting some featheries around Miamisburg, Ohio. Asked afterward to assess his game with the vintage equipment, he’ll say with a chuckle, “I really struggled with my feels. And I could never figure out the right traj.”

June 14-17: U.S. Open

At Shinnecock Hills, Tiger can be seen buddying around with USGA executive director Mike Davis and a few other blue-blazered officials. Doesn’t make sense? Think again: This is the last year of his 10-year exemption for winning the 2008 edition of this event. If he doesn’t play his way in next year, he’ll need an exemption.

June 28-July 1: The National

With no sponsor and no host course, this event felt like Dead Tourney Walking earlier in the year. That was until Woods started personally calling his peers and demanding answers. As if to illustrate his powers of persuasion, the field will be one of the most star-studded of the summer.

July 12-15: Scottish Open

Twenty-three years ago, Tiger prepped for his first Open Championship by playing his first Scottish Open. He made the cut that week, but never made it back since turning pro — until this year, as he’ll want to fulfill European Tour membership minimums and get a sense for the nasty weather he’ll undoubtedly find at Carnoustie.

July 19-22: The Open Championship

Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, and the phrase rings true when Woods’ clubs go missing Thursday morning. Quickly putting together a makeshift stand bag with a driver, four irons, two wedges and a putter, Woods is forced to hit “feel” shots all around the course. And he loves it.

July 26-29: RBC Canadian Open

Ask the true Tiger geeks to list their hero’s best-ever shot and they won’t point to the 16th hole chip at Augusta or the final-hole putt at Torrey Pines. Instead, they’ll point to a 218-yard 6-iron from underneath a fairway bunker lip at the 2000 version of this event. Knowing the tourney is back at Glen Abbey, Woods will decide to give it a go, trying the shot again in his practice round — and realizing immediately just how masterful it was.

Aug. 2-5: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Sensing a pattern now with these WGC appearances, aren’t we?

Aug. 9-12: PGA Championship

Six months earlier, Tiger was reticent to commit to two events in a row. The year’s final major will make five straight — without any reticence at all.

Aug. 25-26: Arnold B. Walker Milwaukee County Championship

Already qualified into the third FedEx Cup playoff event, he skips the Northern Trust in favor of teeing it up in the city where he made his professional debut. He isn’t a member, but can enter the 36-hole flighted stroke play event by paying a small additional fee. And don’t worry, there are prizes for both the gross and net competitions.

Sept. 6-9: BMW Championship

Not only will Tiger tee it up at Aronimink, he’ll quickly exit after the opening round to catch the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in their home opener, still wearing his golf garb on the sidelines that night.

Sept. 20-23: Tour Championship

Considering it has been a half-decade since Woods last competed in the season finale, this one is perhaps his easiest non-major commitment of the year, as there was never a doubt he wanted to reach the field at East Lake.

Sept. 28-30: Ryder Cup

Asked during his Tuesday news conference at Riviera whether he’d rather be a captain’s pick or vice captain for the U.S. team, Tiger answered, “Both.” He’ll be deemed prescient when he takes on two roles in Paris.

Oct. 11-13: U.S. ProMiniGolf Association Masters

The Masters of MiniGolf — contested, of course, in the small-ball capital of the world, North Myrtle Beach — will get a lot more interesting with an actual four-time Masters champion in the field. In fact, Tiger might even want to wear his jacket — you know, for intimidation purposes. And here’s the best part: According to the website, competitors who commit now “will be entitled to a generous 20% off our bar rate.” Hey, that might be the best reason to play a tourney all year.



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