Tiger Woods will play a non-major, official PGA Tour event for the first time in more than two years when he tees it up in next week's Genesis Invitational.
The announcement of Woods' commitment came during Friday's second round of the WM Phoenix Open, so give Max Homa credit for his quick wit when made aware of the breaking news following his round.
"That's awesome," Homa said. "I imagine we'll be carrying him down the hill on 1 and up it on 18. Which no one would mind."
Homa, who played the first two rounds of last summer's Open Championship alongside one of his childhood heroes, then got serious: "But it's awesome. I'm really glad he's back. I think we're privileged any time he plays now. Obviously, we don't know his schedule. Seems like he's going to try to play the majors, so it's really awesome he's playing a Tour event. Especially his event. One of my favorites, so I'm stoked to see him back out there. Yeah, he's always remarkable. You never know what he's going to do, so it will be fun to watch him play some golf."
Full-field scores from the WM Phoenix Open
Woods competed in three major championships last year, only missing the U.S. Open, but he hasn't logged a regular PGA Tour start since the 2020 Zozo Championship. He said back in December before the Hero World Challenge, which he withdrew from because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, that he expected to play a very limited schedule outside of the majors moving forward, mainly because of injuries sustained to his right leg in a February 2021 car accident.
“The goal is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more. That’s it,” Woods said. “Physically, that’s all I can do. I told you that, guys, you know, the beginning of this year, too. I mean, I don’t have much left in this leg, so gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, you know, lightning catches in a bottle and I’m up there in contention with a chance to win and hopefully I remember how to do that.”
Jon Rahm was more surprised than Homa to hear that Woods would be joining the world's best at Riviera for the $20 million designated event.
"He's playing Riv?" Rahm said. "Nice. Well I didn't know. Great to hear. Great to hear. After all he's gone through. It's incredible that he keeps trying. Spoke to him at Bahamas. Everything he had on his leg and then you add the plantar fasciitis. I really feel for him in that sense. But I know he's going to keep doing everything he can to still try to win more tournaments. Possibly get that 83rd win. Hopefully, obviously in his mind a major, right?
"So, it's a true honor for all of us. Any time Tiger can be present on the golf course playing makes the tournament even better. So, I'm hoping he can play comfortably and I'm hoping he can play well."
Added Tom Kim: "I think it's great for the game. As a player, even me a big fan of Tiger, it's going to be awesome for him to be in the field. Hopefully, I can kind of work myself up and kind of hopefully play with him if I get the chance."