The rumors were spreading like wildfire on Wednesday: Tiger Woods was going to make a big announcement. Before long, the rumors had become that Woods was going to announce his retirement, or step away from golf for 2015 or longer.
In the end, Woods said on his website that he won’t play on the PGA Tour again until his game is “tournament ready.”
Call it what you want — leave of absence, indefinite break, whatever — but what is clear is that Woods could be out two weeks, or he could be out much longer.
Woods said he would like to play in the Honda Classic at the end of February, but wouldn’t if his game and back, which he is rehabilitating, weren’t healthy.
“My play, and scores, are not acceptable for tournament golf. Like I’ve said, I enter a tournament to compete at the highest level, and when I think I’m ready, I’ll be back,” Woods wrote. “Next week I will practice at Medalist and at home getting ready for the rest of the year. I am committed to getting back to the pinnacle of my game. I’d like to play The Honda Classic — it’s a tournament in my hometown and it’s important to me — but I won’t be there unless my game is tournament-ready. That’s not fair to anyone. I do, however, expect to be playing again very soon.”
In one breath, he said Honda was still in play. In another, he suggested we look beyond then to see him next — maybe the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Don’t be so concerned if Woods misses Honda; what good would another missed cut do him? However, if Woods doesn’t show up at Bay Hill, then it’s time to be concerned.
Of course, this announcement could have been made in an effort to head off the rumors he undoubtedly knew were out there. Hell, a sports anchor from the Fox affiliate in Minneapolis said she had a “source” claiming cryptically that Woods was “stepping away from golf.” (She probably meant “retiring,” but hedged just in case in was what it was.) This could be an opportunity for Woods to see if some emergency fixes can get his game fit for public consumption. Then, if that fails, who knows what’s next. It’s not clear if Tiger even knows.