No, not the fact that he’s playing a Fall Series event; he’s contended for a while now that he needs more “reps” late in the year. And not the fact that it’s the Frys.com, either; on a challenging golf course in his native California, it makes as much, if not more, sense than returning to the scene of his first career victory in Las Vegas or his second career win at Disney.
Instead, the biggest shock is that Woods announced the move on his personal website on Aug. 29, more than a month before the tournament will be played from Oct. 6-9.
After all, other than a major, WGC event or one of his own tournaments, this is the earliest he’s committed to an event in years.
Other than that, we should’ve have expected this announcement.
After U.S. Presidents Cup team captain Fred Couples first said he would almost certainly add Woods to the roster as a wildcard pick, he then concluded that he wanted Woods to play again prior to the competition. Well, Couples wasn’t coming up with that idea on his own. The guess here is that he knew Woods was planning to compete in a Fall Series event and made his claim knowing his wish was going to come true anyway.
Political reasons aside, this is a smart move. At the root of the Fall Series, its reason for existing is giving those who didn’t perform well in the regular season final chances to earn money, world ranking points and a trip to the winner’s circle. Woods has struggled with all three this year, failing to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs in his injury-shortened eight-start season, so getting another chance to tee it up leaves him as just another of those guys trying to salvage his season.
After that, he’ll play in an outing at Pebble Beach that will help raise money for his foundation, will do some corporate appearances in Asia before heading to the Australian Open then the Presidents Cup.
It’s not the usual late-season schedule for a guy with 71 career victories and 14 majors, but then again, this hasn’t been a usual season, either.