No East Lake for Woods: The 15 other times Tiger was unable to defend as champion

Golf Channel

MEDINAH, Ill. – For the 16th time in his career, Tiger Woods will not defend one of his 81 career PGA Tour victories.

Woods arrived at the BMW Championship 38th in the FedExCup standings and left it in 42nd.

As a result, Woods will not qualify for this week at East Lake, the site of his breakthrough win last year. The format of the Tour Championship has certainly changed, so it would have been only a quasi-defense of his title had he made it, but Woods will be staying home.

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“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I wish I could have [made it]. Last year culminated in a pretty special moment for me and it would have been nice to go there, but I’ll be watching the guys on TV.”

With Tiger not qualified for next week, here is a look at the 15 other titles Woods, for one reason or another, did not defend:

• 1998 BellSouth Classic: Tiger’s seventh Tour win was a one-stroke victory over Jay Don Blake at TPC Sugarloaf. The tournament moved from May to the week before the Masters in 1999, and Woods opted not to change his usual major prep.

• 2006 Ford Championship: It would be another eight years and 40 wins before Tiger wouldn’t defend. In this case, it wasn’t his fault; and in a way, he successfully defended two titles at once. Woods picked up victory No. 47 in what was the final playing of the Ford Championship at Doral. The WGC-CA Championship (now WGC-Mexico) moved to the Blue Monster in 2007, and Woods won that event instead for the third consecutive year.

• 2006 Buick Open: Shot four consecutive rounds of 66 to win by three over Jim Furyk. Didn’t make it back in 2007 following the birth of his daughter Sam.

• 2007 Wells Fargo Championship: Played with Michael Jordan in the Wednesday pro-am and went on to win the tournament by two over Steve Stricker. He didn’t defend in 2008 following arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage to his left knee. The following month, he won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines on a broken leg.

• 2007 WGC-Bridgestone: He won by eight at 8 under par. He was the only player in the field better than even. He failed to defend following reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee.

• 2007 PGA Championship: He would have been the two-time defending champ, following victories at Medinah in 2006 and Southern Hills in 2007. Failed to defend following reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee.

• 2007 BMW Championship: Won the first BMW Championship of the FedExCup era, thereby winning the Western Open a fourth time. Failed to defend following reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee.

• 2007 Tour Championship: Won the first Tour Championship of the FedExCup era by eight and claimed the inaugural season-long title. Failed to defend following reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee.

• 2008 Buick Invitational: He won twice at Torrey Pines in ’08, taking the Buick and U.S. Open in five months. The Buick marked his second consecutive victory by eight shots, following the ’07 Tour Championship. This was the last title he would fail to defend as a result of his 2008 ACL surgery.

• 2009 Arnold Palmer Invitational: Woods won for the sixth time at Bay Hill, making birdie on the 72nd hole to win by one. He missed the event for the first time in his career in 2010 in the wake of his infidelity scandal. He would return to competitive play the following month at the Masters.

• 2009 Buick Open: Won this event a third time after failing to defend his 2006 title two years in a row. This was the final playing of the Buick Open.

• 2012 AT&T National: Won his own event for the second time in its return to Congressional after a two-year sojourn to Aronimink. He failed to defend in 2013 following a left elbow strain, which he aggravated in the high, wet rough at that year’s U.S. Open at Merion.

• 2013 Arnold Palmer: His eighth win at Bay Hill and the second time he failed to defend. In 2014, Woods missed the Arnold Palmer and the Masters, eventually announcing that he had undergone his first microdiscectomy surgery on his back.

• 2013 Players Championship: His second Players victory in his 300th Tour start. Was unable to defend in 2014 following back surgery.

• 2013 WGC-Bridgestone: This was Woods’ last win for five years, until the 2018 Tour Championship. He came close to mounting a full defense in 2014 but withdrew on the ninth hole of the final round after having jarred his back via an awkward shot at the second that sent him into spasms.

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