May 12, 2011
On Thursday at The Players Championship, Tiger Woods withdrew after just nine holes, citing continued medical struggles with his knee and Achilles. Because it seems that Tiger has been laboring a lot lately with his health, we decided to predict when Woods would return (again) to the PGA Tour. Here are the best possibilities.
The Memorial (June 2-5) -- An event Tiger has won four times in his career, and headlined by Jack Nicklaus, it seems that Woods would do whatever it takes to return for this event, but it is probably too soon for Tiger at this point. After the Masters, it took Tiger nearly five weeks to play nine holes, and after this, I suspect he will need more than three weeks to get back to tournament-ready golf. I'm sure he circled this on his schedule before The Players, but now I'm sure it'll be crossed off.
The U.S. Open (June 16-19) -- It seems surgery would be the only thing that might keep Woods away from a major, especially at a golf course he likes, but I'm starting to think he won't be back for this event either. It's just two weeks after the Memorial, and it would be interesting to see Tiger play his first competitive round in a month at the hardest event of the year, but he did the same thing with The Players, so it isn't completely out of the question. I'll say this: If Tiger is not 100 percent physically, expect him to skip out on this one as well, because the only thing that could come from this if his health was iffy is more embarrassment.
The AT&T National (June 30-July 3) -- It's Tiger's event, and he won here in 2009, so if I had to circle a return (and that's hinging on him actually playing again in 2011), it is probably here. It seems like an appropriate return and it seems that he'd have enough time off to heal up.
The British Open (July 14-17) -- The last gasp for Tiger if he hasn't played to this point; it would seem strange for Woods to skip out at an event that could still play into his hands (creativity is the key to links golf, and Tiger is still one of the best at it).
It's crazy to think that Tiger might miss more majors, but it is completely plausible. When do you think he'll return?