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The USGA officially released their list of players exempt for the 2023 US Open. In their announcement, they noted that Tiger Woods withdrew his name from exemption, meaning he’s not going to play at Los Angeles Country Club next month.
That’s sad news, but unsurprising. Woods had surgery in late April after hobbling his way around Augusta National for the 2023 Masters. At that point, playing high-level competitive golf again this season seemed unlikely.
But just because we’re unlikely to see Tiger Woods in 2023, don’t count him out for 2024 or beyond.
Inevitably, after Woods suffers a setback, talking heads rush to ask the question: “Have we seen the last of Tiger Woods?”
Admittedly, I was one of those people back in 2017. Following back surgery and the DUI, the end appeared to be near for Woods.
Then, miraculously, Woods won the 2019 Masters tournament. In all honesty, it’s one of the greatest sporting accomplishments I’ve seen in my life. It might be #1.
But that’s the thing with Tiger: if he’s remotely healthy, you cannot count him out of a golf tournament. And, thanks to golf as his sport of choice, he can remain competitive for years.
Just look at 52-year-old Phil Mickelson. Mickelson finished tied for second at the Masters this year. He made the cut at the PGA Championship and finished in the Top 60.
Tiger Woods is still five years younger than Mickelson. Sure, Mickelson doesn’t have the injury history. But Mickelson doesn’t have Woods’ golf pedigree.
Did we see Tiger Woods win his last major championship at the 2019 Masters? Maybe.
But I’m not willing to bet on it. Not yet.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @RealDanZak