After Further Review: Tiger's schedule makes things even tougher


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on Tiger's schedule, Jason Day's run at No. 1, the race for the top spot in the LPGA and Patrick Rodgers' maiden victory.

On the heels of his latest withdrawal, opinions on Tiger Woods’ long-term prospects have ranged from “still capable of passing Jack Nicklaus’ major record” to “never going to factor in another one again.”

What’s less debatable are his short-term opportunities.

Unless Tiger makes a shocking about-face, he won’t tee it up in next week’s Northern Trust Open. (He’s already out for this week’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am.) Even if he’s healthy enough to return, his likely schedule would include just the Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational prior to the Masters. He hasn’t qualified for the WGC-Cadillac Championship and none of the other pre-Augusta events – Puerto Rico Open, Valspar Championship, Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open – have ever previously found their way onto his schedule.

For years, Tiger has maintained that he’d rather dig secrets out of the dirt than compete prior to the biggest tournaments. If we’ve learned anything lately, though, it’s that the strategy has some serious faults.

It’s difficult to envision him coming anywhere close to contending at the Masters based on recent developments. But it’s even more difficult to see it happening if he only plays twice more between now and then.  – Jason Sobel

Jason Day admits that when he won last year’s WGC-Match Play Championship his career goal was suddenly in sight.

“I felt like I was going to get to No. 1 [in the World Golf Ranking],” he said on Sunday at Torrey Pines.

A thumb injury, combined with a brilliant run by now-No. 1 Rory McIlroy, denied the Australian his spot atop the world. But Sunday’s victory at the Farmers Insurance Open will catapult Day to fourth in the world on Monday and back into contention for the top spot.

He may not be able to unseat McIlroy atop the ranking, but it certainly will be fun to watch him try.  – Rex Hoggard

This battle for the Rolex No. 1 world ranking is looking like it’s going to be a tantalizing weekly subplot in the women’s game.

Inbee Park appeared poised to take back top billing from Lydia Ko this weekend, only to see Ko charge while Park treaded water on the back nine Sunday at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

Ko began the week three hundredths of a point ahead of Park in their weekly averages. Ko looks like she will move a little more than two tenths of a point ahead of Park in Monday’s newest rankings.

With Stacy Lewis not all that far behind, the No. 1 ranking is a prize that might grow maddening for this trio. The shadow of No. 1, with all its projections and its decimal-point math and all the media questions that come with them, might seem inescapable.

It’s nice spice for the rest of us, though. It’s bonus competition for our Sunday viewing.  – Randall Mell

While much of the focus this weekend was on the California coast, one of the game’s rising stars notched his maiden victory some 3,000 miles away.

Patrick Rodgers was the top player in college golf last year, and his 11 wins at Stanford tied a school record previously held by Tiger Woods. An ill-timed injury hampered his run through the Tour Finals last year, but Rodgers bounced back to capture the second event of 2015 in a playoff over Steve Marino at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship.

The win paves the way for the 22-year-old to get his PGA Tour card for the 2015-16 season, when he’ll certainly be a player to watch.  – Will Gray