Tiger Woods to Skip Houston Open, Focus on Preparation for the Masters

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2020

Tiger Woods watches his shot from the 11th fairway during the third round of the Zozo Championship golf tournament Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Thousand Oaks, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Tiger Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, announced Tuesday that Woods will not play in next week's Houston Open, according to Daniel Rapoport of Golf Digest

Woods is also out of this week's Bermuda Championship, meaning he will not play another competitive round of golf until the 2020 Masters start on Nov. 12.

Tiger played in last week's Zozo Championship and finished tied for 72nd in a 78-golfer field, as he posted a one-under score for the tournament.

Woods is the reigning Masters champion, as he prevailed last year at Augusta National to win his fifth career green jacket and his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open.

That gave Tiger 15 career major championships and renewed his push to tie or surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18, but 2020 has largely been a difficult year for Woods on the course.

The 44-year-old veteran has not won a tournament since the 2019 Zozo Championship almost exactly one year ago, and he hasn't been in the hunt very often this season.

Tiger finished tied for 37th in the PGA Championship and missed the cut at the U.S. Open. He also hasn't logged a top-10 finish in any tournament since finishing ninth in the Farmers Insurance Open in January.

Between the 2019 Zozo Championship, 2020 Hero World Challenge and 2020 Farmers Insurance Open, Woods had three consecutive top-10 finishes to close 2019 and open 2020, but his best finish since then was his 37th-place result at the PGA Championship.

Given how poorly he has played as of late, Woods does not have the makings of a Masters contender despite all the success he has enjoyed at Augusta over the years.

With top players like Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm playing at a high level, Woods will need to elevate his game in a big way in order to compete.

Tiger is still a respectable 29th in the world rankings, but the fact that he finished 2019 as the No. 6-ranked player worldwide speaks to how much he has struggled in 2020.

Perhaps a strong showing in the Houston Open could have gotten Woods' game and confidence level where they needed to be at the Masters, but given his age and injury history, being fresh and healthy for the Masters may be even more valuable.