No one knows who’s in the lead for the PGA Player Impact Program (PIP), a contrived contest that rewards 10 players for being popular. Phil Mickelson seems pretty sure that he’s won, his PGA Championship a big benefit to the cause. Collin Morikawa is apparently in 11th, despite his Open championship win. Many concur, however, that the true winner of any honest contest of this sort would be Tiger Woods.
And that’s without even playing an event until December of last year. The fans are clearly drooling for a Tiger appearance, if they’re this dedicated to him when he’s not playing.
The question is when he’ll play during 2022, and where.
Should Tiger decide to make a competitive return during 2022, the doors would be open at any venue he chooses. But the ball is in his course. Fury Golf has looked at the professional golf schedule for 2022 and made a guess at six possible events that make sense for Tiger to get out of the cage.
The 6 Events Tiger Woods Should Play in 2022
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
First of all, yes: As of publishing, the list of participants for the pro-am has already been announced. But let’s be honest…if Tiger Woods calls, event organizers will be damned if they’re going to tell him “no.”
It’s been a while since Tiger Woods won at the Pro-Am, but the last time he did served as an appetizer for perhaps his greatest event ever, the 2000 U.S. Open.
“Alright Fury Golf, so Tiger decides to jump in the Pro-Am. What celebrity gets the lucky pairing?”
So, if we define a celebrity as “someone who gets unreasonable media attention,” there’s no reason why Tiger’s partner shouldn’t be his son, Charlie Woods. The duo’s appearance at the 2021 PNC Invitational drove the golf media wild, and would make them the most popular team at the AT&T Pro-Am as well.
The Arnold Palmer Invitational
Partaking in a Pro-Am would be a case of “Tiger having fun” but let’s be honest…”Tiger doing business” is a look that we’re much more accustomed to. Few events have better demonstrated “Tiger doing business” than the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Tiger Woods has won the event eight times, including a four-year winning streak to open the new millennium.
Granted, wins have come a little tougher for Tiger during the past decade, and the last of those eight victories came during 2013. Still, if he’s looking for a place to wade back into professional golf, the Palmer is a great option: Bay Hill Golf Club relatively nearby to Tiger’s home, compared to flying across the country.
The Masters Tournament
This is perhaps the most obvious of the entries on this list, but there’s a relative lot to unpack when considering why Tiger might choose to make an appearance at the first major of the year.
First, there’s his own history at the event, which he’s won five times. Two of those wins stand out because they have a baptismal feel to them. The first was his initial major victory, during the 1997 Masters, where — if they hadn’t heard yet — the world first heard the roar. More recently was Tiger’s 2019 win…his first major in more than a decade, which seemed like a rebirth following years of tribulation.
Unfortunately, of course, the 2020 accident may have undone all the work Tiger put into getting a similar win.
There would still be value in his participation at The Masters, however. Lee Elder, the first black man to play in the tournament, passed away during 2021. Elder had joined Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player as an honorary starter at the event; We’re not suggesting that Woods replace him yet, but Tiger took the torch that Elder and many other black golfers carried. Tiger grew the game across all races, but his role in inspiring black golfers is particularly relevant and would potentially make an appearance at the Masters all the more meaningful.
The Open Championship
July 14 - 17
Once again, it seems obvious that a major championship would be a good place to jump in the field. But again, the 2022 Open has additional appeal for Tiger.
First, there are the festivities that surround the event. The Masters Champions Dinner gets hyped every year, usually regarding what the past winner chooses to put on the menu, but The Open has a similar tradition for past winners. In fact, all majors have some variant of champions dinner, but Tiger has expressed enjoyment of The Open’s dinner in particular.
Tiger has expressed appreciation for more than just the dinner. Namely, he’s identified the Old Course at St. Andrews — the host of this year’s Open — as his favorite golf course in the world. You know that means something…he’s played a lot of golf courses.
Even if Tiger can’t add a third Claret Jug to the two he’s already won at St. Andrews, a walk around the home of golf may appeal to him.
The Barracuda Championship
July 14 - 17
“Wait, wait, wait. The Barracuda Championship seems to be occurring at the same time as The Open. And, furthermore, I’m not even sure I’ve heard of The Barracuda Championship before. So why would Tiger Woods skip one of the biggest events in golf to play there?”
Good question. Tiger obviously has sentimental attachment to St. Andrews and to The Open, but there may be an alternative reason for Tiger to head to the Tahoe Mountain Club.
He’s currently tied with Sam Snead atop the all-time list for PGA victories, with 82 apiece. Tiger’s always been a competitor and has never shied away from facing the world’s best, but — depending on how he’s been feeling as he comes back into the game — he might be willing to enter a certified PGA event against a relative B-list of professionals if it helps him get that one additional victory.
Sure, he’d rather do it at a more prominent tournament but hey. A record’s a record.
The Hero World Challenge
(Dates Yet Announced)
Don’t overthink this one. Does Tiger have enough clout to call up the best players on tour and get them to show up in the Bahamas for his charity event, even if he’s not playing? Absolutely. Does that mean he’ll skip an opportunity to play against the best players on tour in the Bahamas?
Doubtful. It’s been a few years since Tiger participated — COVID cancelled the event during 2020 and his injury prevented him during 2021 — but his presence is valuable, especially when the event benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. If he can bring some more sponsors or fans by playing in the field, plan on it.