x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Tiger Woods is getting back in familiar territory of his schedule

Historically, Woods has deviated from his schedule about as often as he has blown 54-hole leads. Which is to say, virtually never.

Among new venues, Tiger Woods played in Abu Dhabi this year but might return to the usual Dubai Desert Classic next. Christopher Pike / The National
Among new venues, Tiger Woods played in Abu Dhabi this year but might return to the usual Dubai Desert Classic next. Christopher Pike / The National

Last year, as part of his reinvention-and-revival tour, Tiger Woods indicated that he planned to play at a handful of new venues as his career spun forward. For obvious reasons, that notion was roundly applauded.

Historically, Woods has deviated from his schedule about as often as he has blown 54-hole leads. Which is to say, virtually never.

Indeed, he played in 2012 at the Pebble Beach event for the first time in a decade, then signed up for the first time at his new hometown event, the Honda Classic, in Florida, and later entered the Greenbrier Classic, where he missed the cut. Those starts helped broaden his appeal and cleanse his soiled image.

So far this year, though, the only deviation has come by way of contraction. Woods's agent confirmed that the world No 1 won't be playing at next week's Wells Fargo event in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he missed two cuts in the past two years.

Facts are, largesse reportedly had little to do with the scheduling changes last year. At Pebble Beach and Greenbrier, Woods had obligations that needed to be satisfied as a result of deals with title sponsors or venue owners. Note that he did not return to Pebble Beach this year.

Adding new events in 2012 - whether or not he received de facto appearance fees — helped Woods prop up his reputation after it had slipped badly over the previous 30 months. Now that he is again riding high, and again has leverage, the familiar travel itinerary has been trotted out.

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