(Reuters) - Tiger Woods has not made any playing commitments beyond this week’s Genesis Open and the former world number one said on Tuesday his decision on whether to compete next week will depend on his level of soreness.
Woods, who made the cut last month at Torrey Pines in his only competitive start since returning from injury, has until after his second round on Friday to commit to the Feb. 22-25 Honda Classic, which will be played near his Florida home.
“It’d be a great sign if I do play,” Woods told reporters at Riviera, “And I think it’d be a smart sign if I don’t play.”
Woods, who will be paired with Rory McIlroy and reigning Player of the Year Justin Thomas for the first two rounds this week at Riviera, has taken a cautious approach in his comeback.
He returned last December for an 18-man exhibition after a near 10-month layoff during which he had spinal fusion surgery, and then made his PGA Tour return eight weeks later.
Woods finished joint 23rd at Torrey Pines and the way he got around the course was encouraging, especially considering he missed the cut at the same event in 2017 when his back betrayed him and then withdrew after one round the next week in Dubai and was out until December.
The 14-times major winner acknowledged on Tuesday that he felt sore after playing four rounds at Torrey Pines this year but that this time it was not his back that bothered him.
”My feet,“ said Woods. ”I‘m not used to walking. I‘m used to being in a cart playing 36 holes.
“It’s a good sore, it’s just different.”
Should the 42-year-old Woods sit out next week, it would limit the number of tournaments he could play to prepare for the April 5-8 Masters, the year’s first major.
The week following the Honda Classic is the WGC-Mexico Championship, for which Woods is not eligible. The Valspar Championship and Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he is an eight-times winner, come next.
After that is the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, for which Woods is also not eligible, and then the Houston Open, which is the final Masters tuneup. Woods, however, has never played the event or the week before the year’s first major.
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Tom Hayward