Not since the 2020 Zozo Championship has Tiger Woods played in a regular PGA Tour event. That will change next week at the 2023 Genesis Invitational as the 47-year-oldhis inclusion in the field for the tournament. Garnering designated status by the PGA Tour just like the 2023 WM Phoenix Open, many of those in the field at TPC Scottsdale will make the trip to Los Angeles at the conclusion of the week and reunite with the 15-time major champion at Riviera Country Club.
“He’s playing Riv?,” asked a genuinely surprised Jon Rahm. “Nice…After all he’s gone through. It’s incredible that he keeps trying. Spoke to him at Bahamas. Everything he had on his leg and then you add the plantar fasciitis. I really feel for him in that sense. But I know he’s going to keep doing everything he can to still try to win more tournaments. Possibly get that 83rd win. Hopefully, obviously in his mind a major, right? So it’s a true honor for all of us. Any time Tiger can be present on the golf course playing makes the tournament even better. So I’m hoping he can play comfortably and I’m hoping he can play well.”
Woods has been stuck on 82 wins since his triumph at the aforementioned Zozo Championship. Tied with Sam Snead for most victories in PGA Tour history, one more trip into the winner’s circle is certainly on his list of to-dos. While his history at Riviera Country Club suggests it may not come next week, his participation is nevertheless encouraging for future prospects.
“That’s awesome. I imagine we’ll be carrying him down the hill on 1 and up it on 18. Which no one would mind,” said 2021 Genesis Invitational winner Max Homa. “But it’s awesome. I’m really glad he’s back. I think we’re privileged any time he plays now. Obviously we don’t know his schedule. Seems like he’s going to try to play the majors. So it’s really awesome he’s playing a Tour event. Especially his event. One of my favorites. So I’m stoked to see him back out there. Yeah, he’s always remarkable. You never know what he’s going to do. So it will be fun to watch him play some golf.”
Woods played only nine competitive rounds in 2022 between The Masters, PGA Championship and The Open. Scheduled to play in the Hero World Challenge this past December, he ultimately had to withdraw before the tournament due to plantar fasciitis. Remaining on the property, Woods interacted with competitors in early week charitable contests and crossed paths with one of the brightest stars in the sport in Tom Kim.
“I think it’s great for the game,” said the 20-year-old Kim. “As a player, even me a big fan of Tiger, it’s going to be awesome for him to be in the field. Hopefully I can kind of work myself up and kind of hopefully play with him if I get the chance…I played a few events that he’s been in there, but never been near where he was teeing off.”