Tiger Woods got back into the winner’s circle at the season-ending Tour Championship last year, and with it came an invitation to one of the most exclusive events of the year: the Sentry Tournament of Champions that kicks off the 2019 PGA Tour calendar next week on Maui.
While Woods has been adamant about a scaled-back schedule in 2019 due to the fatigue he felt towards the end of his 2018 comeback campaign, his invitation to the winners-only event was rumored to be a possible jumping-off point for his 2019 schedule.
That rumor was squashed on Thursday when both Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, and tournament General Manager Alex Urban confirmed Woods would not be entering the event.
“We always welcome every winner to the Sentry Tournament of a Champions and would have loved to have Tiger play here in Maui. But we are proud of the field that will tee it up next week, which is the best the tournament has seen in years,” Urban told Golfweek.com’s Bill Speros.
Tiger Woods will likely begin his 2019 season at Torrey Pines. https://t.co/o4ahS2oCvM
— Golfweek (@golfweek) December 27, 2018
“He couldn’t really plan for 2018,” Steinberg told ESPN on Thursday. “Now that he’s had that rise, there can be a bit more planning and efficiency to what he is doing going forward. He had the potential to win two majors, won the Tour Championship, was in contention for the FedEx Cup, the Ryder Cup. That success allows him to schedule the way he did for the first 13, 15 years instead of having to react as he did this year. He just wants to look at the next few years more efficiently.”
Steinberg’s statement reiterated what Woods had said only a few weeks earlier in the Bahamas.
“I’m not going to play as many as I did this year,” Woods said at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month. “I played in too many this year, and that was from adding an event because I missed the cut at (the Genesis Open) to qualifying to get into Akron.
“Who knew that I could make it through all the playoff events? So all those events took a toll. I won’t be playing as much as I did (in 2018).”
Tiger opts not to open ’19 season in Hawaii https://t.co/qWMucji3Vo
— Bob Harig (@BobHarig) December 27, 2018
Were Woods to have played in Hawaii, it would have been the first time since 2005 that he teed it up in the Tournament of Champions. He’s won the event twice (1997, 2000).
Woods is expected to begin his 2019 schedule a few weeks later at Torrey Pines at the Farmers Insurance Open, an event he’s won eight times previously.