Jack Nicklaus believes Tiger Woods has his sights set on playing on the seniors tour in the coming years, despite adopting a limited schedule for his golfing comeback. Woods made his tournament return at the Genesis Invitational last month and impressively made the cut at Riviera.
But he has not entered the PGA Tour’s flagship event, The Players Championship, at TPC Sawgrass next week, and is not expected to compete again until the Masters next month. Woods, 47, continues to suffer from plantar fasciitis in his right foot and the damage done in his horrific February 2021 car crash means he will never make regular tournament appearances again.
However, his move into effective semi-retirement has not diminished his insatiable desire to win more big tournaments. The 15-time major champion struggles with his mobility but there were more than enough signs that his golf was still in good shape in his T45 finish last month.
And Nicklaus, the only man to hold more major titles than Woods, insists that his fellow golf icon is still keen to play into his fifties and could leave the PGA Tour for the Champions Tour seniors circuit when eligible in three years time.
Woods would be eligible to compete on the Champions Tour from his 50th birthday in December 2025, but it is unclear how well his body will hold up as he continues to push himself to the limits.
And while he has so far refused the suggestion of playing with a cart on the PGA Tour, Nicklaus has revealed that he is more open to the idea when he reaches the final years of his career on the seniors circuit.
“He’s going to play the majors, he can actually still hit the ball pretty well, he just can’t walk,” Nicklaus said on Sir Nick Faldo’s Round Table Chats podcast.
“I told him, I said ‘Tiger you’re eligible to take a cart’, but he said ‘I’m not going to do that, when I get to the senior tour I will. He’d love to play the senior tour. That’s what I love about Tiger, he’s a competitor, he loves competition.”
Woods would generate huge interest in the Champions Tour should the 82-time PGA Tour winner eventually decide that the prestigious seniors circuit is an appropriate next phase in his retirement plan.
But for now, he is fully focused on getting his body in the best possible shape for the majors, starting at Augusta in just a matter of weeks.
“Here’s the deal, I’m not going to play any more than probably the majors and maybe a couple more,” Woods has reiterated on his return. “That’s it. That’s all my body will allow me to do. My back the way it is, all the surgeries I had on my back, my leg the way it is, I just can’t. That’s just going to be my future.”