Tiger Woods took a step back from the public eye this week, retiring from his tournament schedule ahead of his 13th round with the Farmers Insurance Open. His last event of the year is scheduled for January 28, but the timing could be significant: Woods is scheduled to play in another tournament later in December in Shanghai — one that, while nearly two weeks away, could be a crucial part of his tournament preparations for 2018.
The PGA Tour announced Thursday that Tiger Woods will not compete in the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego, CA, starting on Thursday. Woods is scheduled to play in the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China, on Dec. 2-6. — PGA Tour (@PGATOUR) November 30, 2017
In a pair of tweets, a short clip from golf’s longest-serving player made it clear that he is letting the 10th anniversary of the Masters roll by without him:
The last 10 years have been …pretty special. Finally won The Masters with the help of my newest friends @KeeganBradley and @ZachJohnsonPGA. Decided to move on and not try to recreate that magic. Looking forward to next year. Been a lot of fun! I’ll miss the fans. I’ll miss the guys in the locker room. #mendibustythankyou — Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) November 30, 2017
Over his 19-year career, Woods has won 14 major championships, including six at the Masters, but his repeated public problems have limited his visibility and chances to take his career to new heights. At 42, he’s in a transitional phase of his career, playing parts of the past two years without really being around to lead his own groups. In the past two years, for example, Woods hasn’t played the Tavistock Cup or the Jack Nicklaus event at the Memorial Tournament. At this stage of his career, he clearly feels that going for experience, not that extra win, is more important.
The PGA Tour always stresses the close connection between majors and the rest of the season, but there’s a point where, if Woods is not willing to play as an amateur, it’s going to be a long, long shot for him to come back and win one. The Presidents Cup — a tournament that helps introduce rookies to the competitive scene of tour golf — will be played later in December. And given how much the PGA Tour race has been whittled down in recent years, it won’t take a whole lot for Woods to take it to the back door.