Tiger Woods probably had so much steam coming out of his ears after leaving Rochester, NY, that he didn't need jet fuel for the plane home.
It's been a great PGA Tour season for him—five victories—but a lousy major season because Woods doesn't include The Players in his major count. ( We, here in Ponte Vedra, count The Players since it's the toughest field all year on a really hard golf course. )
Woods has five more events that count in 2013: the FedEx Cup series and his own tournament in December. If you want to count the Presidents Cup, that's six.
Because of the way the tournaments are slotted this year for the FedExCup, the top golfers are encouraged to play all of the Playoff events. The first two, The Barclays and Deutsche Bank are separated by a rest week before the BMW and the Tour Championship. Then there's a week off before the Presidents Cup.
That change is a good one for guys who have been basically on the road from the British Open through the PGA Championship. Previously, it was just too much golf packed into too short a window.
Woods has just committed to Barclays and Deutsche Bank raises money for his education foundation, so he will be there. The BMW is the lead-up event to the Tour Championship. Even golfers who might skip the first or second event don't typically skip BMW because it establishes final pecking order for the Tour Championship and because of the $10 million, season-ending pot of gold.
Anybody in the top five coming out of BMW is in a great position to win the $10 million plus more than another million for a victory at the Tour Championship. It could be a $15 million month for anyone who can run the tables.
For Woods, there's more at stake than just the titles.
While Tiger Woods doesn't need the money, he might want some extra cash to back his tournament in December. He's been out of pocket for the prize money for three years. It is probably wearing on him if nothing else but, if he does something really exceptional, corporate sponsors may flock back to the Woods bandwagon. There are two or three exceptional things he can do to preserve 2013 or turn 2013 into a history-making season.
One thing he can do is to win another two events, which should bump Phil Mickelson from Player of The Year. Secondly, Woods has already blown by Jack Nicklaus' career victory total. If he wins three more tournaments, he can get to the 82 victory mark and tie Sam Snead's record ( whether you like or hate the actual tournaments counted for Snead). Third, if Woods were to somehow win all four FedExCup events, he'd break the current Snead record. He would become the winningest PGA Tour player ever. That's something an agent can take to sponsors.
Just in case you had forgotten, the Woods record for number of events in a season is nine in 2000, and three of those were majors. That was back when it seemed like nobody but Tiger Woods could ever win another golf tournament.
If he won all the rest for 2013, he'd have nine.
So just when you think there's not much for Woods to focus on for the rest of the year, it appears there's plenty; $10 million, four victories to eclipse Sam Snead and potentially getting a new sponsor for his own tournament.
How likely is it that Woods will win out? The odds are not in his favor, but as the fields get smaller each week in FedEx Playoffs, his chances improve. Nobody has won more limited-field, no-cut events than Woods.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.
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