What's Next for Tiger Woods Following 2012 Ryder Cup Disappointment?

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The golf season is over for all intents and purposes following the 2012 FedEx Cup playoffs and the Ryder Cup, so is there any golf involving Tiger Woods worth watching this fall?

Potentially, there is, but it comes with a caveat -- it won't mean anything in terms of the current world No. 2 getting any closer to becoming the player the game needs him to be.

A year ago, the sports world watched intently as Woods attempted to rebuild his career and played in events he used to ignore, such as next week's Fry's.com Open in California. But interestingly enough, there's plenty of intriguing golf to pay attention to as a budding rivalry with top-ranked phenom Rory McIlroy builds momentum.

The good folks over at The Golf Channel have gone ahead and put together a nice piece on what to watch for as the season winds down. The Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals will be an eight-man exhibition event set to begin next week and will feature the top two players in the world in virtually meaningless golf.

But to the players, the fierce competitors they are, it always means something. Woods isn't ready to pass the torch yet as the game's greatest living legend. McIlroy isn't looking to give up his status as the best player on the planet, either. What it equates to is at least moderately compelling golf that will have some casual fans interested and golf fans glued to the action.

The pair will next square off in an October 29 18-hole match play event. It's what the world was waiting for when it mattered during the FedEx Cup and Ryder Cup matches, but never got to see. This fall will be an opportunity to witness what could've been.

For Tiger, it'll be a chance to gradually throttle down what has been a good, not great, season by his own lofty standards -- three wins, a No. 2 official world golf ranking, a T-8 at the TOUR Championship at East Lake and a third place overall finish in the FedEx Cup standings. But the measuring stick for Woods is always majors, and in 2012, he had none.

He will return to the course in an official worldwide event October 25-28 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia before he heads to China. To wrap things up, he will compete as the playing host of the World Challenge, an annual invitational at Sherwood Country Club in Southern California.

It will be a long wait, April of 2013 at The Masters to be exact, until we see Woods and McIrloy competing with something on the line (they'll get paid for the exhibition event, but neither is exactly cash-strapped).

Majors are what matter most to Woods, McIlroy and the majority of the sports-watching public. Fall will be at least a little bit of fun, but it's going to be a long winter.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the PGA TOUR as a Southern California-based sports journalist, editor, and blogger. You can read him on SB Nation and Examiner.com. He is also the Editor and Founder of Sports Out West.

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