Tiger Woods in the dark as golf icon outlines Majors plan for 2024

Tiger Woods wants to play in all the Majors next year but has admitted he will have to rely on a favour from the US Open organisers to complete the set. Woods, who turns 48 in a fortnight, has pencilled in a schedule for 2024 which will see him play one tournament a month after returning to the golf course following ankle surgery.

The list includes the Masters, US PGA and Open Championship but for the first time since 1996 he is not automatically qualified for all the Majors with his US Open pass having expired.

‌Unless he can climb into the world’s top 60 by late spring – unlikely since he is now ranked 901 – he will be reliant on a special exemption from the USGA that other greats of the game like Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson have been afforded in the past.

‌He acknowledges he is in the dark over whether – or how – that might happen. “I don’t know what’s happened with Jack over his career, or Tom or anybody else but as of right now I’m not in,” said Woods. “Whether or not I have to formally ask them or they invite me, or I have to go qualify, I don’t know what the process is.”

Woods has a lifetime pass into the Masters and the US PGA and can play in The Open until he is 60 but his five-year US Open exemption – from his 2019 win at Augusta – ran out this year.

The USGA does not hand out special invitations every year – the most recent went to Phil Mickelson in 2021 – but there will be significant pressure on them to open the door for Woods at Pinehurst in June with the three-time winner playing again. His presence in any tournament still moves the dial.

His latest appearance, a fifth-place finish in the knockabout father-and-son PNC Championship at the weekend, followed on from his successful comeback – physically at least – in the Hero World Challenge a fortnight ago where he finished 18th out of 20.

“It’s been nice to knock off a lot of the rust and some of the doubt that I’ve had because quite frankly I haven’t hit a shot that counted in a long time,” said Woods.

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“Having to post a score and hit shots with consequence has been nice. The ankle was fine because it’s now fused. Other parts were definitely aching but the fact that I was able to train right away and get after it and start hitting balls was encouraging.

“If I’m able to practise and prepare I know that I can still do it. I can still hit the golf ball. I can still chip. I can still putt. Granted it’s also putting it all together for 72 holes – that’s the challenging part of it.”

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