We’re playing Tiger spotting again in 2023 as Tiger Woods seems determined to play, and challenge, on the PGA Tour but will have to be super selective about when and where he makes an appearance.
Tiger Woods is without doubt still the singular biggest draw in the world of golf, and if anything he’ll be even bigger in 2023 as his appearances will be few and far between and targeted towards the big events.
“The goal is to play just the Major Championships and maybe one or two more. That’s it. I mean, physically that’s all I can do,” Woods said as he gave us an insight into what his 2023 schedule could look like.
“I told you guys, you know, the beginning of this year, too. I don’t have much left in this [right] leg, so gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, you know, lightning catches in a bottle and I’m up there in contention with a chance to win, and hopefully I remember how to do that.”
Injuries such as the plantar fasciitis that forced him out of the Hero World Challenge could also pop up at any time to throw a spanner in the works, but there are definite tournament targets that Woods will be looking at in 2023.
Will Tiger Woods play in all the Majors in 2023?
Woods shocked everyone by making the cut at the Masters and Augusta National will again by a main target for the 15-time Major champion as he knows the place like the back of his hand and will feel he can compete there at any given time.
He also played in the PGA Championship but pulled out after shooting 79 on Saturday, before then skipping the US Open to rest up for The Open – where he missed the cut at what looked like his final appearance at St Andrews.
After turning up at Augusta last year just 14 months after his horrific car crash, it’d have to be something really big to stop him showing up again this year, while his superb 2006 victory at Hoylake will mean he’ll want to return to Royal Liverpool for The Open.
If any, you’d say the PGA Championship would be the one he may skip if he felt it was too much, as he’s finished 12-over and four-over in two previous Majors at Oak Hill. Also the US Open is being held at nearby LA Country Club and Woods only has two years left on his exemption in that Major.
The Masters: Augusta National (April 6-9)
PGA Championship: Oak Hill (May 18-21)
US Open: LA Country Club (June 15-18)
The Open Championship: Royal Liverpool July (20-23)
Where else could Tiger Woods play in 2023?
“I love competing; I love the sport,” Woods said at the Hero. “I’ve been playing it for most, well, basically all my life. It’s just unfortunate I’m not able to do the things that I feel mentally I can do, the body just kind of rejects it.
“When I was at home, I was shooting 4, 5, 6, 7 under par like it was nothing, but I was in a cart. Now you add in walking and that goes away. So I need to get to where, the point is where I can actually walk around and play that way.”
The other non-Majors Tiger Woods could play in 2023
Farmers Insurance Open – Torrey Pines (January 25-28): How about an early start? We know Tiger’s not been moving comfortably but if ever he wanted to start the year in comfortable surroundings then Torrey Pines would be right up there as he’s won there eight times including the US Open.
Genesis Invitational Riviera – Riviera (February 16-19): Tiger will definitely be at Riviera as he’s the tournament host and his TGR Foundation is the main charity that week, but will he be bringing his clubs for a spin around Hogan’s Alley?
The hosting duties could have a big say here, as Tiger would have to try and avoid a few to ensure he has time to practice but with his foundation benefitting then that may not be advisable.
Arnold Palmer Invitational – Bay Hill (March 1-5): An outside bet this one as Woods will undoubtedly have The Players on his radar and Bay Hill comes just the week before, but if he’s feeling healthy then he may want this as a tune-up.
Players Championship – TPC Sawgrass (March 9-12): Woods has entered The Players just twice in the last seven years but it’s the pinnacle of the PGA Tour season and especially in the world of LIV Golf he’ll want to try and lend his support by turning up to this one.
The Memorial – Muirfield Village (June 1-4): Jack Nicklaus’ event would be a perfect landing spot for Woods to use as a tune-up for the US Open if he feels able to tee it up in Los Angeles.
It’s just a week after the PGA so it would all depend on if Woods played there and how much discomfort he felt afterwards so is perhaps an outside option and one more geared towards him being healthy enough.
Verdict: When will Tiger Woods actually play in 2023?
In an ideal world, Woods could play one tournament a month in a six-month stretch, starting with the Genesis in February, Players in March, and then the four Majors in four successive months starting with the Masters in April and ending with The Open in July.
Torrey Pines could be an excellent debut if Woods is feeling fit enough, and it's far enough before The Masters that it wouldn't harm his chances of returning to Augusta if things go badly.
You wouldn't rule out Woods heading straight to Sawgrass though or even Augusta if his mobility is an issue - as he got through four rounds of the Masters last year so a further 12 months down the line in his recovery should make it a bit easier.
Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website. Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.
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