Because of injury, he has played all 72 holes in only three tournaments this season, with a 54-hole cut, 36-hole cut and final-round withdrawal also mixed in.
Five events is not much game time to try and crack the top 125 in season-long points, which is why PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was asked Tuesday at The Barclays media day whether he would consider offering players such as Woods a medical exemption into the first playoff event.
“Ah, no,” Finchem told reporters. “It’s not just a playoff event. It’s a yearlong competition. So it kind of muddies up the competitive nature of the competition.”
Instead, the PGA Tour is likely looking at another fall in which its biggest star is on the sidelines. That was the case in 2008, when Woods missed the second half of the season because of reconstructive knee surgery. And that was the case in 2011, when he sat out nearly three months because of injuries to his knee and Achilles’ tendon. Woods won the FedEx Cup in 2007 in ’09.
His current predicament is most similar to 2011. His missed cut at the PGA Championship was only his eighth start of the season, and he finished the year outside the FedEx Cup bubble, at No. 132 in points.
A win at either this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational or next week’s PGA Championship would secure a postseason berth, but Woods likely needs to average at least a top-3 finish to be safe.
Woods is the defending champion and eight-time winner at Firestone, while he won the PGA the last time it was held at Valhalla (2000).