The biggest draw in golf will not be at the U.S. Open in 2022.
Tiger Woods made his triumphant return to the game on April 7 at the Masters. It was his first PGA Tour tournament after recovering from a debilitating February 2021 car crash. Woods has said that the crash will ensure he never plays a full PGA Tour schedule again — but it has not permanently removed him from the game
Instead, Tiger will be more selective about the tournaments he plays, essentially limiting them to “the big events.” That presumably includes each of the four majors — the Masters, PGA Championships, U.S. Open, and British Open — as well as other popular tournaments
Woods has only played in two tournaments to date in the 2021-22 PGA Tour season: the Masters, where he finished 47th, and the PGA Championship. He was forced to withdraw from the latter after experiencing pain in his surgically repaired leg and carding one of the worst rounds of his professional career.
With that, The Sporting News looks into why Tiger will not participate at the 2022 U.S. Open, his history in the tournament, and when he intends to return to play.
Will Tiger Woods play at the 2022 U.S. Open?
Even after limiting himself to the PGA Tour’s biggest events, Tiger will not participate in the 2022 U.S. Open.
He announced that on June 7, saying he needed more time for his body to get strong enough to compete in a major tournament.
That is the new normal for Tiger, whose recovery from golf events will be more arduous considering he needed extensive surgery after his February 2021 car crash. Woods provided a glimpse at the Masters, where he walked with a noticeable limp.
After his first round at Augusta, he shed light on how he attempted to recover.
“Lots of treatments. Lots of ice. Lots of ice baths. Just basically freezing myself to death,” Woods said. “That’s just part of the deal. And getting all the swelling out as best as we possibly can and getting it mobile and warmed up, activated, and explosive for the next day. Those are two totally different ends of the spectrum.
“Most sports, if you’re not feeling very good, you got a teammate to pass it off to, and they can kind of shoulder the load. Or in football, one day a week. Here we’ve got four straight days, and there’s no one that’s going to shoulder the load beside me. I’ve got to figure out a way to do it.”
Woods’ injuries were more noticeable at the PGA Championship. He made the cut in Tulsa but then carded the second-worst round of his professional career in the third round, placing him in a tie for last place at 12 over.
Removed from the meaningful competition and experiencing pain in his leg, Tiger elected to withdraw.
“I just can’t load it. Loading hurts. Pressing off it hurts. Walking hurts. Twisting hurts,” Woods said (via the Tulsa World’s Eric Bailey). “It’s just golf. If I don’t do that, I’ll be OK.”
When will Tiger Woods play next?
In announcing his decision not to compete at the U.S. Open, Woods reiterated his intent to play at the JP McManus Pro-Am on July 4-5 and the British Open from July 14-17.
The JP McManus Pro-Am is not an official PGA Tour event. JP McManus, who hosts the charity tournament, issued a statement on April 14 confirming Tiger’s intent to play in the event:
Tiger Woods’ U.S. Open history
Woods’ status as one of the most successful golfers in U.S. Open history remains intact, even after his decision not to compete in the event in 2022.
He has three U.S. Open wins, in 2000, 2002, and 2008. He is tied with Hale Irwin for the second-most U.S. Open victories, behind only Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones, and Jack Nicklaus, who each have four.
He also has the record for the largest margin of victory: 15 strokes in 2000. That record stands for all majors on the PGA Tour.