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Joe LaCava hoping Tiger Woods can play 'three, maybe four' events before Masters

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Caddie Joe LaCava remains hopeful that Tiger Woods can play “three, maybe four” tournaments ahead of the 2023 Masters.

Speaking earlier this week on the “Dan Patrick Show,” LaCava outlined where he thinks Woods, who turns 47 this December, might be able to tee it up ahead of the year’s first major.

First up, in all likelihood, is an appearance at the Hero World Challenge, scheduled for Dec. 1-4. The limited-field exhibition in the Bahamas is where Woods has made returns from injury in both 2016 and ’17.

Later that month, Dec. 15-18, is the PNC Championship, the parent-child event in Orlando that Woods has played the last two years with son Charlie. Woods’ team finished runner-up last year.

LaCava also said he hoped that Woods would compete in the 2023 Genesis Invitational (Feb. 16-19), one of the premier regular-season events on the PGA Tour schedule and a tournament that benefits Woods’ foundation. Another possibility is The Players Championship, March 9-12, which would give Woods a final tune-up before Augusta.

“I’m still hoping he’ll play three, maybe four tournaments before the Masters,” LaCava told Patrick.

LaCava added that he “won’t do much” over the coming months but that he’ll offer to visit Woods in South Florida if he wants to practice, prepare and ramp up for any competitive appearances.

“I’ll do the same thing and say to Tiger, ‘If you’re starting to feel better maybe October, November, maybe I’ll come down for a couple of weeks, we’ll hang out. We don’t have to play every day. We don’t have to practice every day. I’ll just be there and give you a little motivation,'” he said.

Woods himself hasn’t made any announcements regarding his future schedule.

After missing the cut last week at the 150th Open, he said he had “nothing planned” in the near future.

“This is it,” he said. “I was just hoping to play this one event this year. And I was lucky enough and got three events in.”

Indeed, Woods’ only three appearances this year were at the major championships. He tied for 47th at the Masters despite being just 14 months removed from a horrific car crash that he said nearly cost him his right leg. He also made the cut at the PGA Championship but withdrew before the final round.

Last week, Woods equaled his highest-ever opening round at The Open when he started with a 78. He followed it up with a 75 in the second round in what may have been his final competitive appearance at the Old Course.

It was a surprising result considering Woods’ affinity for links golf, the easier walk at St. Andrews, and the fact that he’d skipped the U.S. Open in hopes of being as physically fit as possible.

“It’s one of those things where we just never got anything going the first day,” LaCava told Patrick. “It wasn’t like he played poorly – the putting just didn’t seem to be there, and the short game wasn’t quite there.

“I think he’s working so hard to get stronger and healthier. He’s working on his long game and working on his endurance, and I just think the short game has been neglected a little bit at this point and that showed over there.”