The Masters might not be the only major Tiger Woods misses before he returns “sometime this summer” after surgery to repair a pinched nerve in his back on March 31.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said on Wednesday that he would be surprised if Tiger Woods teed it up in the next two months, a timetable that would force him to miss both the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass and the U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
“That injury is one that you don’t want to come back too soon for,” Finchem said on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. “That’s the last thing you want to do. I think it’s going to be a little while for Tiger. And I’d seriously doubt we’re going to see him play golf in May or June.”
Those comments echoed the thoughts of Woods’ close friend Notah Begay, who told CBS Radio on Monday morning he “thinks he needs to give (his back) a minimum of 90 days to make sure that scar tissue heals up appropriately and he doesn’t run the risk of re-injuring it.”
Finchem managed to find some positives in Woods’ absence, even in the wake of the 24 percent dip in Masters TV ratings as the Tiger-less final round drew its smallest audience since 2004.
“Last week at Augusta was a good indication of when Tiger is not in the field — because everyone wants to watch Tiger — it opens the door for exposure for other players,” he said. “The attention that they got, the focus that they got, it helped build them into stars for the future. It really grows a lot without Tiger. I’d much rather have Tiger playing, don’t misunderstand me, but there is that benefit to creating stars, and creating stars is our future.”