Woods To Play 'Three, Maybe Four Tournaments Before The Masters' - Joe LaCava

Tiger's bagman thinks he's targeting several tournaments before next year's Major at Augusta National

Joe LaCava and Tiger Woods during the first round of the 2022 Open at St Andrews
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods’ third Major appearance of the year in the 150th Open ended with a missed cut and the American declaring that he may not be back for another St Andrews appearance. 

However, while that rounded off a series of mixed results since his comeback from a career-threatening leg injury, his caddie has revealed that the 46-year-old is already targeting three or four tournaments in the build-up to next April’s Masters.

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Speaking on The Dan Patrick Show, Joe LaCava revealed he’s hopeful Woods will be back in December. He said: "I'm hoping that he will play maybe in December at the Hero [World Challenge] and the father-son [PNC Championship] and maybe the Genesis [Invitational]. I'm still hoping he'll play three, maybe four tournaments before The Masters.”

Woods has a long-standing love affair with The Masters, having won it five times, so it’s not surprising he’s targeting another assault on the Major he last won in 2019. However, prior to his missed cut at St Andrews, Woods withdrew from the PGA Championship after the third round and finished 47th in The Masters at Augusta National – a series of results that revealed the extent of his struggle to recover from the injuries he sustained in a February 2021 car crash. Therefore, it makes sense that he’s likely to play some tournaments to prepare for the gruelling course. According to LaCava, though, there’ll be no pressure from him to come back too soon.

"I won't do much. I'll do the same thing and say to Tiger: 'If you're starting to feel better maybe October, November, maybe I'll come down for a couple of weeks, we'll hang out. We don't have to play every day, we don't have to practise every day, I'll just be there and give you a little motivation.' We'll play and practise a little bit here and there, and maybe get him ready for the Hero and get ready for 2023 and get him ready in any respect that he needs."

Woods has a favourable history with all three tournaments cited by LaCava. He’s a host and five-time winner of the Hero World Challenge, while he also hosted this year’s Genesis Invitational. Meanwhile, he and his son Charlie came up just short in last year’s PNC Championship, fuelling suggestions that his comeback might not be far off.

Sure enough, Woods was back for April’s Masters, although he was visibly limping by the end. However, LaCava thinks that rather than his stamina, it was Woods’ short game that let him down at St Andrews last week. He said: "It's one of those things where we just never got anything going the first day. It wasn't like he played poorly. The putting just didn't seem to be there and the short game wasn't quite there. I think he's working so hard to get stronger and healthier. He's working on his long game and working on his endurance and I just think the short game has been neglected a little bit at this point and that showed over there."

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.