There's a very real possibility that Tiger Woods' 2013-14 PGA Tour season will end at Valhalla and the PGA Championship. Sitting well outside of the top 125 in FedEx Cup points with just three events left on his anticipated schedule before the playoff start, Woods will have to accumulate an estimated 370 points just to eek into The Barclays.
If Woods doesn't do just that -- basically by finishing in the top five in each of those three elite tournaments -- then his PGA Tour season will be over and leave him without a place to play on the PGA Tour until the Tour Championship is done. That could impact whether or not Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson exhausts one of his wild-card picks on Woods for the Gleneagles-bound team.
“I'm delighted to see Tiger back,” Watson said at The Greenbrier Classic. “I hope he's healthy and I hope he's not in pain. As I said, I want him on the Ryder Cup team if he's healthy and playing well.”
"And playing well." There's a qualifier there that maybe wasn't when Watson initially said a healthy Woods was good enough to get him on the American team.
Woods may well have to find a place to play during the PGA Tour playoffs, then, to show captain Watson he is indeed healthy and in good enough form -- akin to what he did when he played in the 2011 Frys.com Open near San Jose to make the same show for captain Fred Couples.
Two tours come to mind for Woods to play: the Web.com Tour and the European Tour.
The 14-time major winner would indeed be eligible to play in any of the four Web.com Tour Finals events if he missed the FedEx Cup playoffs, according to Golf Channel's Damon Hack. The first event in the Finals, the Hotel Fitness Championship in Ft. Wayne, Ind., is Aug. 28-31, ending before Watson presumably announces his captain's picks after the Deutsche Bank Championship on Labor Day weekend.
Woods could immediately find his way into a pair of European Tour events during the first two legs of the FedEx Cup playoffs, with the D+D Real Czech Masters from Aug. 21-14 or the Italian Open Aug. 28-31. What's more, Woods could probably attract an appearance fee to play in either event, something he couldn't do if he played on the Web.com Tour.
Then again, Woods could opt to not play at all, hoping the goodwill 79 PGA Tour wins and 14 major championships has afforded him will be good enough to get the nod from Tom Watson. It should be.