PGA Golf: Will Tiger Woods Play the WGC Bridgestone Invitational Next Week?

Kevin PahlauContributor IIIJuly 27, 2011

Tiger Woods has won seven times at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.
Tiger Woods has won seven times at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio.Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Tiger Woods is officially not competing this week at the Greenbrier Classic. With that news confirmed, there is another question to ask. Will Tiger play at the Bridgestone Invitational next week?

There are some key points that favor Tiger playing at Firestone next week.

He is very familiar with the course that he has dominated over the years. It is one of his favorites on the PGA tour. He has won the tournament seven times.

There is no cut during the Bridgestone Invitational. So even if he is not playing well after coming back from his injuries, he could play the entire week. It would also be a good warm-up for the PGA Championship.

However, there are plenty of indications that he will not play at the Bridgestone Invitational as well.

Tiger seems to be keeping quiet about his intentions on anything lately. He has not spoken much to anyone. Even his closest player friends, Mark O'Meara and John Cook have indicated they have no idea when he will return.

Then there is the caddie situation. Tiger's split with Steve Williams last week has drawn plenty of attention and he has yet to publicly announce who his new caddie will be.

His swing coach Sean Foley told that he and Woods have not been working together. Foley mentioned that they had not hit any balls and he has no idea what Tiger's plans are at this point.

If Tiger does not play Firestone, then it is likely he will not play in the PGA Championship. If he does not play at the PGA, he may be done for the rest of the season.

Tiger has indicated that it is up to his doctors and it is not up to him to decide when he will return to golf. You have to believe he is thinking about long-term goals at this point.

It would be better for him to return when he knows he is 100 percent healthy. Why return and risk aggravating his injuries further just to try and salvage his ranking? If he plans to contend for majors and break the records he has focused on during his entire career, he will be cautious in deciding when to return.

Whatever Tiger decides, he will have to indicate what his intentions are by 5:00 PM Friday. Of course he could make the call at 4:56: PM on Friday and confirm he is playing the Bridgestone Invitational.

With the fortress of solitude high, we'll just have to wait and see.