Is It Time For Tiger Woods To Retire?

For what it's worth, Mike Bailey gives his take after Tiger's WD at The Masters

Tiger Woods' head and shoulders from behind
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When is enough enough? For Tiger Woods with regards to playing, it's a question only he can answer.

But it's also a query that all of us will weigh in on, whether our answer is "that's up to Tiger," or "yes, he should retire; we hate seeing him suffer," or "no, he should keep going; it's the only reason I watch golf." 

Woods, as we all know, might be the fiercest competitor there's ever been in golf. Who can forget his 2008 U.S. Open victory at Torrey Pines, where he outlasted Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff, plus an extra hole of sudden death -- all on a left leg with two stress fractures and a torn ACL in the same knee. 

He limped his way to victory through 91 holes, but of course, he was just 32 years old back then. It was his 14th Major victory, and it appeared inevitable that he would shatter Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 in short order.

That didn't happen, of course. It would be 11 years later that he shocked the world by logging his 15th Major victory, here at Augusta National, after he had battled back from countless other injuries and personal problems. 

There have been back and knee surgeries, too many to count, and then the horrific one-person car crash in 2021 in Southern California. On that one, we were just hoping he would survive much less play golf, yet here he was this week, limping up and down the rain-drenched hills of Augusta National on Saturday, somehow managing to make his record-tying 23rd consecutive cut at Augusta.

Tiger, of course, withdrew from the Masters after seven holes of his third round, citing a flare-up of his ongoing platar fasciitis. Kudos to him for giving it a go to start the third round in freezing, miserable conditions yesterday when the players were called back out to start another round. He bravely slogged through seven holes, playing them six-over-par. At plus-nine, he was in last place, but he only left the course after play was finally suspended due to the deteriorating weather.

Tiger Woods Limping

(Image credit: Getty Images)

He's had enough this week. Now what? Does he take a few weeks off again to try to heal before the next Major, the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in May? That's a pretty tough walk, too.

But if we know Tiger Woods, he'll try to rehab in time for that one, or maybe he gives it a little more time to prep for U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club in June. In any case, these Majors are tough grinds. Will we see more withdrawals?

Does he still have a realistic shot to win three more Majors and tie the Golden Bear? I'm sure even he realizes that's not in the cards anymore. After all, he's already older than Nicklaus when he won his 18th, right here at Augusta National at the age of 46, in 1986. And he didn't have near the injury history that Woods has. 

Woods is tied with Sam Snead for the most wins on the PGA Tour with 82. Does he want to break that record bad enough? Forget the Majors, though, can he even win another PGA Tour event?

I have my doubts, and I wonder if he does, too. After all, the top players in the game are really, really good. And most of them are pretty healthy.

For those who have never had plantar fasciitis, you might not realize how painful that is. I've had bouts with it, and I can tell you it's debilitating. I can recall playing 18 holes of golf, and not being able to walk after I drove home and got out of the car. And that was just 18 holes -- in a cart. Tiger would have had to play 29 on Sunday at Augusta if he hadn't withdrawn.

On a side note, thankfully, one day, after countless doctor appointments, I found a miracle-working foot reflexologist in Chinatown in New York about a decade ago and haven't suffered from it since. Unfortunately, I don't have her contact info to pass along to Woods.

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods chat at The 150th Open Championship

I'm sure even Tiger realizes that Jack's record is not on the cards anymore

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Popular opinion for many years was that Woods would never play on the PGA Tour Champions circuit. I think there's a good chance that he will. Because he's still competitive and his biggest obstacle right now isn't hitting golf shots -- he can still do that about as good as most of them -- but the walk itself. 

Nicklaus agrees, saying in a recent podcast with Nick Faldo that Woods "wants to play the senior tour." Woods himself has hinted as much, referencing the "buggies" that he would be able to use in three years.

What a shot in the arm that would be for PGA Tour Champions. 

I think Woods will play beyond 50, but I certainly wouldn't expect him to play a heavy schedule like Bernhard Langer, who will probably be out there until he's 80. (Langer had a very respectable showing at Augusta this year, despite missing the cut.) 

Maybe he would just play in the senior Majors and a few events, but can you imagine the ratings?

So, Tiger, many of us implore you -- don't keep putting yourself through this. We hate seeing you in pain and becoming a shell of your old self.

Design some more courses (I love Bluejack National, by the way, north of Houston). 

Keep playing with Charlie in the PNC Championship, where you can use a cart. And get ready for the PGA Tour Champions, where we will be waiting to see you amaze us once again.

Mike Bailey
Contributing writer

Mike has worked in the golf industry for nearly 30 years with full-time staff positions at publications and websites that include PGA Magazine, the Golfweek Group, and He is currently writing for several different sites and magazines and serves as a contributing equipment writer for Golf Monthly, focusing on irons, shoes and the occasional training aid or piece of technical equipment. 

Mike has experienced a number of highlights in his career, including covering several Ryder Cups, PGA Championships and the Masters, writing instruction pieces and documenting the best places for golf travel for more than a decade.

Mike carries a 7.6 handicap index and has two hole-in-ones, the most recent coming in February 2022. A resident of Texas for more than 40 years, Mike plays out of Memorial Park Golf Course (home of the Houston Open on the PGA Tour).