Next week’s Ryder Cup in Paris is likely the last time the golfing public will see Tiger Woods tee it up until his much-anticipated match with Phil Mickelson on Thanksgiving weekend.
Woods will have played eight events in 11 weeks dating back to the Open Championship in late June through the biennial matches outside of Paris next week. That type of run of golf takes a toll on even the youngest and fittest in the sport, not to mention a 42-year-old Woods who has had a myriad of health issues in the last few years.
So, it should come as no surprise that Woods has chosen to forego a spot in the Safeway Open Oct. 4-7 in Napa, California.
However, tournament host and co-owner of Silverado Resort — where the event is played — Johnny Miller had some choice words about Woods’ decision.
“You always have to handle Tiger a little with kid gloves,” Miller told The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Ron Kroichick. “I think he’ll honor his commitment and come next year.
“This is maybe Tiger’s busiest stretch ever. We knew he wasn’t going to come all the way from Paris after playing in all the playoff events, then the Ryder Cup. He’s going to be burnt crisp. Hopefully, he’ll have enough honor to come play next year. We’ll take him whatever year we can get him.”
— Ron Kroichick (@ronkroichick) September 21, 2018
Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent, confirmed his star client wouldn’t be traveling the nearly-9,000 miles from France to California the week after the Ryder Cup, telling Kroichick in an email that Tiger has played “all the golf” he’s going to this season.
Woods was obligated to play in the then-Frys.com Open sometime between 2013 and 2015 following his decision to skip a PGA Tour event in favor of playing in the Turkish Airlines Open in 2012.
Woods and seven others skipped the Frys in favor of traveling to the Middle East for a lucrative appearance fee. In return for their absence, each of the eight — Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel and Hunter Mahan — agreed to tee it up in Napa in the next few years. Each of the seven other than Woods has done so.
“Tiger’s team knows he hasn’t fulfilled the obligation,” Andy Pazder, the PGA Tour’s chief tournaments and competitions officer, said. “Because he was out a number of years due to injury, we’ve given him additional time. His team is aware of the obligation and plans to play in an upcoming year.”
Woods missed the event in 2015 or 2017 because he was recovering from back surgeries. In 2016, Woods commited to play, but withdrew the week before the tournament citing a golf game that wasn’t ready to compete at the highest level.