Inside Tiger Woods' 2018-19 season

One big question looms as Tiger Woods embarks on a new season: What's next? After a return to the big stage a season ago, during which he not only played a full schedule but also won again with an impressive performance at the Tour Championship, Woods is back for the next chapter.

Will this season be better? Worse? Include another win or multiple wins? What about that elusive 15th major championship?

We're here to chronicle every step along the way.

This week

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship

That Woods is playing here is a bit of a surprise, given the possibility that a player concerned about overextending would enter an event in which he could play seven rounds in five days. That, of course, would require he gets to the final, which is hard to do given just how many things can happen over the course of this event. What it does guarantee is at least three rounds. Considering Woods had to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck issue, he needed more reps as he built toward Augusta. So, here he is, at the Match Play.

Earlier in 2019 ...

The Players

After bailing on the Arnold Palmer Invitational because of neck injury, Woods calmed the fear that his injury was significant and might sideline him for a while. He played all four rounds at The Players without incident as he builds toward the Masters. On Friday, he seemed set to be a factor on the weekend -- then he made a mess of the 17th hole, hitting two balls in the water that surrounds the famous (or infamous) island green. He rallied a bit on Sunday with a 3-under 69 to move a few spots up the leaderboard. A week off, and then Woods will be back for the WGC Dell-Technologies Match play. That will certainly be his final appearance before the Masters.

Key stat: Woods found the fairway at TPC Sawgrass, he just couldn't do anything after that. He was fifth in the field in strokes gained off the tee (4.59), hitting 38 of 56 fairways. After that, he was average. His average proximity to the hole was just under 39 feet, which had him 35th in the field.

Round 1: 70
Round 2: 71
Round 3: 72
Round 4: 69
Finish: T-30


Tiger never considered walkway drop on 17

Tiger Woods discusses the conversation he had Friday night after carding a quadruple-bogey.

WGC-Mexico Championship

Although a 5-under 66 in the second round vaulted Tiger Woods up the leaderboard, it didn't necessarily mean he'd contend for the win on the weekend. This was the Dustin Johnson show from start to finish. But what Woods' second round did do was give hope for a strong weekend showing and perhaps a top-five or better finish. Then the putter did what it has done most of this season, betraying Woods on the weekend. Instead of going low and moving up the leaderboard, he stood still after weekend rounds of 70 and 69, both of which should have been much better.

Key stat: How bad was his putting again this week? This was the first time since 1997 that Woods has posted consecutive tournaments in which he has had at least six 3-putts.

Round 1: 71
Round 2: 66
Round 3: 70
Round 4: 69
Finish: T-10

Genesis Open

The streak will go on. No place has Tiger Woods played more without a win than at Riviera Country Club. But after four days of stops, starts and early wake-up calls thanks to awful weather, Woods walked away with some good and bad before he heads off to this week's WGC-Mexico Championship. After needing a long birdie just to make the cut, Woods put together a solid third round -- it spanned Saturday and very early Sunday morning -- to leap into the top 10 before fading down the stretch Sunday afternoon. Like much of the field, Woods looked tired as he closed a long week.

Key stat: Look closer at the good and bad. If you add up the positives -- birdies and eagles -- Woods was 20-under. That was third-best behind Justin Thomas and J.B. Holmes. But he also made 10 bogeys, 10th-most in the field.

Round 1: 70
Round 2: 71
Round 3: 65
Round 4: 72
Final: T-20

Farmers Insurance Open

Tiger eased into his 2019 schedule, starting slowly before a strong closing round to get him some extra FedEx Cup points. Expecting him to win his first start in a new season -- even though he has held his arms high at the end of eight events at Torrey Pines -- isn't reasonable. These aren't the old days. This was about getting back in tournament mode, shaking off some rust and starting the buildup to April at Augusta National. While the first three days were frustrating -- he couldn't get anything going -- the closing 67, including a back-nine 31, will add some confidence as he works on his game over the next two weeks before resurfacing at Riviera for the Genesis Open on Feb. 14-17.

Key stat: Tiger Woods finished 10th in the field with 5.856 strokes gained tee to green, but he took 118 putts this week, including 61 on the weekend. His 29.5 putts per round were T-57.

Round 1: 70
Round 2: 70
Round 3: 71
Round 4: 67
Finish: T-20

Full leaderboard: Farmers Insurance Open

  • Can Tiger get to No. 1 again? READ

  • Answering every big Tiger question for 2019. READ

How he closed 2018 ...

Hero World Challenge

After a lengthy layoff following a poor Ryder Cup -- the lone appearance between the Ryder Cup and this event in the Bahamas was his one-off Match with Phil Mickelson -- Woods struggled all week and finished 17th in the 18-player field (Hideki Matsuyama was last).

"Overall, it was a long week," he said.

Key stat: The short holes were Woods' downfall. He played the 20 par-3s in 7-over: five bogeys, one triple and a birdie. He was 8-under on the rest of the golf course.

Round 1: 73
Round 2: 69
Round 3: 72
Round 4: 73
Finish: 17th (18-player field)

Full leaderboard: Hero World Challenge

  • Tiger plans out 2019 after second-to-last finish READ

  • PGA's first event of 2019 might make sense for Tiger READ

  • Woods admits big season wore him out. READ

  • He's back ... now what? READ

Earlier this season ...

The Match

It was promoted for months and months, the long-awaited showdown with longtime rival Phil Mickelson. Perhaps the golf didn't live up to the hype -- or the promised level of trash talk, either -- but it was the unofficial kickoff to Woods' new season.

  • The match that missed the mark -- over and over. READ

  • How and why Tiger lost. READ


Lost 1-up in 22 holes