There will be a Hawaiian welcome lei awaiting Rory McIlroy but not Tiger Woods.
Rory McIlroy / Image from Getty Images
That will be the confirmed scenario when entries officially close later tonight (Fri) US time for the PGA Tour opening event of 2019 – the January 3rd starting Sentry Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.
For the first time since 2013 both McIlroy and Woods qualified for the ‘winners only’ event by virtue of McIlroy’s Arnold Palmer Invitational success and with Woods ending a five-year victory drought in emotional manner by capturing the Tour Championship.
While McIlroy will be Hawaii-bound he is yet to officially quash any lingering 2018 controversy with word he has re-joined the European Tour after reports European Tour CEO, Keith Pelley flew to Belfast for crisis talks with the four-time Major winner.
McIlroy’s choice to start a new year in America’s 50th State does mean not starting a new season on the European Tour for a very first occasion in his pro career while Woods, by not entering, quashes suggestions he was going to join the Ulsterman in Hawaii.
Instead Woods, who turns 43 on Sunday, will now commence his 2019 season in the January 24th starting Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines near San Diego.
Woods has won the event on seven occasions while he captured his 14th Major there in 2008 in winning the U.S. Open.
There were rumours when Woods headed off to Melbourne, Australia earlier this month he may tee-up in Hawaii but he admitted hehad played too much golf in his full comeback season including teeing-up in seven events over the final nine weeks of the PGA Tour year.
“The only thing set in stone after this is that I’m playing Genesis (Riviera Country Club, Feb 14th to 17th) and the four majors,” said Woods.
“Other than that, we’re still taking a look at what is too much. Seven of the last nine to end my season was too much.”
Woods will be faced with decisions following the Genesis Open as the following week will be the WGC-Mexico Championship, followed by the Honda Classic close of his Florida home.
He’s then got to decide on competing in either the following week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational which is followed by the Players Championship and then the Valspar Championship where he went within a shot this year of forcing a play-off.
What is certain is that Woods will not choose to play five in a row.