Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors as they break down the hottest topics in the sport, and join the conversation by tweeting us @golf_com. This week, we discuss Tiger Woods’ return next week, the year’s second designated event at the WM Phoenix Open and the confirmed changes to Augusta National’s 13th hole.
Tiger Woods will host next week’s Genesis Invitational, but he announced on Friday that he’ll also play in it, making his first start since last year’s Open Championship (and excluding his PNC Championship tune-up with Charlie). What should we expect from Woods, and how significant is it (for next week and the future) that he seems healthy enough to commit to play?
Josh Sens, Senior Writer (@joshsens): Anytime Tiger plays these days, it’s huge. This gives added meaning to ‘elevated’ event and feels something like an early-season statement on behalf of the Tour. As in, see if you can match this, LIV. Of course, he wouldn’t be playing if he didn’t feel he could hack it physically, but I don’t expect him to be in contention, especially not on a course where he hasn’t had a Tiger-like track record. As for the future? His health has been too fragile for any long-term guarantees. That applies to all of us, I suppose. As the late, great baseball announcer Jerry Remy once said, ‘we’re all day to day.’
Jessica Marksbury, Multimedia Editor (@jess_marksbury): As Max Homa alluded when he jokingly said, “I imagine we’ll be carrying [Tiger] down the hill on 1 and up it on 18,” Riviera is no easy walk, so the fact that Tiger feels healthy enough to take it on is super positive. His presence adds additional excitement and gravitas to an already massive week. With the Masters less than two months away, Tiger will need some competitive reps. It will be awesome to see where he stands at (in his words) “an ACTUAL PGA Tour event.”
Jonathan Wall, Managing Editor for Equipment (@jonathanrwall): A Tiger sighting at Riviera is a big win, regardless of how he performs. I’m not expecting much from him in his return to competition. The goal should be to make the weekend and stay healthy. If he can do that, his chances at Augusta get a big bump.
2. On Sunday, Scottie Scheffler repeated at the WM Phoenix Open, holding off Jon Rahm and Nick Taylor and winning for the fifth time in the past year. What’s the bigger takeaway from the week — Scheffler’s continued rise, the Taylor Cinderella story or Rahm’s continued dominance? Or something else?