Woods, who will be embarking on what will be a 23-year spell on the world’s richest stage, is on record as stating he will again contest the January 24th starting Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines near San Diego, and as he did earlier this year.
But as Woods left Nassau on his private jet headed west to Los Angeles to connect with an 11pm local time Sunday departing Qantas flight to Melbourne, Australia there was every chance Woods could tee-up in the first week of January in Hawaii.
For the first time in five years, Woods has qualified for the New Year starting ‘winners only’ Sentry Tournament of Champions by virtue of his Tour Championship triumph.
“We haven’t sat down and actually confirmed anything in my schedule for next year,” he said after finishing 17th in the elite 18-player Hero World Challenge field.
“We’re going to sit back after I’m done with Australia and really get back into the gym and build up my body, get it stronger and get some weight on me and see where I want to start the year and see how many events that I should play.”
Whether or not Woods tees-up for a first time at Kapalua, and what would be a first occasion in 15-years if he did choose to enter, one thing is certain and that is Woods will cut-back on the number of events he does play in the New Year.
In his return to the Tour this past season Woods contested 18 events and something he had not done since contesting 19 PGA Tour events in 2012 while you have to go back to 1997, 1999 and 2005 when Woods played 21 events in each of those three seasons for the most PGA events in any season.
“I’m not going to play as many as I did this year as I played in too many this year, and that was from adding an event because I missed the cut at L.A. to qualifying to get into Akron,” he said.
“Who knew that I could make it through all the Playoff events.
“So, all those events told a lot. I won’t be playing as much as I did last year.”
Indeed, Woods played seven weeks including the Ryder Cup in a period of eight weeks.
Woods also celebrates his 43rd birthday on December 30th and in stark contrast to a year ago when he ended 2017 ranked 656th on the World Rankings he jetted off to Australia as the World No 14.
And unlike last year, Woods has qualified by virtue of his strong 2018 in qualifying for next year’s WGC – Mexico Championship in late February and the WGC – Dell Match-Play Championship in late March as well as the WGC – FedEx Championship in late July.
Though Woods remained tight-lipped on his New Year schedule.
“I don’t know, I don’t know,” he said.
“All I know is I played too much at the end of the year. That was just too much for my body to handle and I was not physically prepared for it.
“I hadn’t trained for that, so we’re going to make some adjustments for next year.”
Woods also faces a 2019 end-of-season nightmare in that his hosting of the Hero World Challenge is to take place in the week before he leads his USA team for the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.
“There are so many things that are up in the air regarding the Presidents Cup,” he said.
“I know that we’re trying to make sure that one of the logistical things and I’m trying to figure out is try to get where there’s like eight to 10 guys plus four, five more, you’re getting close to 50 people from the Bahamas to Australia in time for a practice round, opening ceremonies and the event.
“We have our work ahead of us trying to logistically try to make this all happen.”
However, Woods will arrive in Melbourne on Tuesday morning local time with fond memories of the Royal Melbourne course having played in the two prior President Cups on the famed ‘Sandbelt’ course in 1998 and 2011.
“I love the golf course. I played there first time in ’98 and it was one of the fastest and quickest golf courses I’ve ever played,” said Woods.
“It’s tricky. It’s interesting because you can play it where it’s 110 degrees and you can play it when it’s 40 and 50 as we did in the last Presidents Cup. That can happen down there in Melbourne.”