Tiger Woods will return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where, as host of the tournament, he is eligible for a special exemption given to … the host of the tournament.
While everyone else in the field of 18 players will be ranked among the 50 best in the world, Woods, placed in the position 1,199, will hold his first tournament since he withdrew from the Dubai Desert Clbadic before the second round on 3 February Then, he underwent his fourth back surgery.
Installed in 79 PGA Tour titles since 2013, Woods, 41, has made just 19 openings worldwide since the first back surgery on March 31, 2014. During that time, he has missed seven cuts and retired from three tournaments. He missed the cut in the last three major leagues he has played and he only has one top 10.
So, with all that time out, how is Woods eligible to play when he resumes official tournaments?
The main championships
For the most part, this is not a problem. As a former champion, Woods is eligible to play the Masters and the PGA Championship for life. You can play The Open until you are 60 years old.
The biggest problem will come at the US Open, where Woods will be exempt only at the 2018 Tournament in Shinnebad Hills, based on the 10-year exemption he received for winning at Torrey Pines in 2008. If he does not qualify for another way (world ranking, FedEx Cup), Woods, in theory, would have to go through a clbadification by sections.
But that almost certainly will not happen. Woods is likely to receive a special exemption from the United States Golf Association in 2019 at Pebble Beach (where he won in 2000) and possibly as many as he wants beyond.
Why? For starters, Woods has been a nine-time USGA champion (three junior fans from the United States, three fans from the United States and three from the United States). In addition, his place in the game suggests that the USGA will reward him, just as he did Jack Nicklaus (eight special exemptions) and Arnold Palmer (six). USGA Executive Director Mike Davis would not go so far as to warrant it, but the sure bet is that if Woods is playing and competing at a reasonable level, he will get the exemptions if he wants them.
Before his return to competitive golf this week, Tiger Woods said on Sunday he is finally pain-free after spending years dealing with back problems. "The fact that I no longer feel pain in my lower back … is remarkable," he said.
Tiger Woods even outscored World No. 1 Dustin Johnson sometimes on Friday, according to his playmate Brad Faxon.
Until Tiger Woods can recalibrate their expectations, and the same thing happens to us, the fans, do not expect anything to change this week in the Hero World Challenge.
The PGA Tour  Although Woods has not finished in the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings or monetary gains since 2013, the basic barometer for the exempt state should have few concerns about play a full timeline, if you wish.
By 2018, Woods is exempt based on his victory in the 2013 Players' Championship, which comes with a five-year exemption. Once expired, the Lifetime Member exemption will apply, which grants exempt status to a player who has at least 20 wins on the PGA Tour. Davis Love III and Vijay Singh are using that exemption in 2018.
There are numerous exemption categories on the PGA Tour, and the Lifetime Member status is 18th on the list, before the top 125 of the FedEx point list. from the previous year. In other words, Woods would have no problem entering any regular PGA Tour event he wants to play.
Where the start will be a problem is at the World Golf Championship events and invitations, including your own national tournament that has been played in Washington, DC The WGC have no sponsor exemptions or any stipulations for the previous performance, not even for someone who has won 18 of them, like Woods. He will have to perform now, basically, to be among the first 50 in the world or the best 64 in the case of the Match Play event.
As for the invitations? Without sweating Arnold Palmer, the Memorial (Jack Nicklaus) and his own National will undoubtedly give him a sponsor exemption and will be left on the first tee.
The Web.com Tour
It would make sense for Woods to play a little warm-up. events on the development tour to see where your game is accumulating.
Forget it. Woods never would, and he can not even do it if he wanted to.
Although it is like many players coming from an injury, you do not need a major or minor medical exemption to play the PGA Tour. due to another exemption status. An exempt player on the PGA Tour can not play a Web.com event.
For those who are not exempt in any other way, a major medical exemption grants players a certain number of starts to earn a specific number of FedEx points: based on the 125th finisher last season. It is based on each individual case.
For example, Sang Moon Bae, who missed the past two seasons while performing mandatory military service in South Korea, received 27 starts this season to accumulate 365 points in the FedEx Cup, the number of points JJ Henry won as the 125th finalist last season. If Bae did that, he would remain exempt for the rest of the season.
In order not to exhaust these beginnings, some players choose to participate in the Web.com Tour events for practical purposes, and they are allowed up to five tournaments that will not count against the total number of PGA Tour starts to keep their card.
Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup
Woods has been badistant captain of Davis Love III in the 2016 Ryder Cup and Steve Stricker in the Presidents Cup 2017. According to all reports, he has been a practical badistant, getting involved a lot in the process of pairing and tutoring.
Undoubtedly, Woods would love to play in the Ryder Cup team in Paris next September, and captain Jim Furyk I love having him. But it seems that the 2019 Presidents Cup could be a more attainable goal, if Woods shows some form, a great badumption.
If Woods is playing well, there would certainly be an opportunity for the selection of a captain. But that kind of conversation is just a dream at this moment.
For some, this seems to be the best avenue, which conveniently forgets the fact that many people retire to play golf and that golfers never really retire. 19659002] If this were to happen at some point, there is no formal process to do so with the PGA Tour, and it seems very unlikely that Woods would close the door to play in the future anyway and make some sort of formal announcement. 19659002] Remember, he also has commercial interests that make staying active important.
In 2017, Woods signed endorsement agreements with the Bridgestone golf balls and the TaylorMade clubs. He also has his Tiger Woods Foundation, which has his name in an important way for raising awareness and raising funds. There is no better way to make it happen that Woods participates in the tournaments of his own foundation (including the Hero World Challenge, the Genesis Open and the National) and remains visible as a player. In past years, Woods donated his tournament winnings from events he organized directly at his foundation.