Tiger Woods could play the U.S. Open as his next big tournament in a bid to get back into a competitive rhythm after lower back spasms in February derailed his comeback.
Woods' friend and Stanford roommate, Notah Begay III, told "The Rich Eisen Show" on April 7 that Woods could be back in time for a late May return.
“[The Masters] probably wouldn’t have been the best place for Tiger to start the year out after this most recent setback, and I think we should probably look, maybe something just after The Players Championship,” Begay said.
Woods made a last-ditch effort to try to get ready for the Masters, but, according to reports, he was unable to practice for long outdoors, including a five-minute session that all but confirmed he wouldn't seek a fifth green jacket last week at Augusta National.
As for the tournaments that could fit Begay's hypothetical Woods comeback timeline, there are AT&T Byron Nelson, the Dean and Deluca Invitational at Colonial, the Memorial Tournament and the FedEx St. Jude Classic all leading into the U.S. Open in June at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.
Woods hasn't played competitively since Feb. 2, when he shot an opening-round 77 in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Woods then withdrew before the second round, citing lower back spasms. He withdrew from the Genesis Open, which his foundation hosts, and The Honda Classic. So far in 2017, Woods has played three competitive rounds, going 76-72 to miss the cut at Torrey Pines in the Farmers Insurance Open before pulling out in Dubai.