Behind Tiger Woods’ decision not to play WGC-Mexico

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. — If there’s one thing about Tiger Woods that has been most consistent over the years, it’s that he almost always leaves us shaking our heads.

Whether he’s doing it with his otherworldly talent and winning more tournaments than anyone on the planet, or with his shocking off-the-course transgressions, or with his remarkable resilience in his physical and psychological comebacks, Woods continues to amaze.

Woods’ latest head-turner was his surprising and curious decision not to play next week in the WGC-Mexico Championship — an event that takes place on a golf course that suits his game, a tournament that has no cut, would provide automatic world-ranking points and could boost his chances to earn an Olympic spot.

Woods, who played miserably Saturday in the third round of the Genesis Invitational, an event he hosts, with a 5-over 76, now might not play again until the Arnold Palmer Invitational next month.

Tiger Woods
Tiger WoodsGetty Images

“The idea is to peak around Augusta time,’’ Woods said after his round of his decision this week to skip Mexico. “I just felt I wasn’t going to be ready for next week, [I am] a little rundown and playing at altitude as well isn’t going to help that, so take the week off.’’

Woods— who’s 5-over for the week and is 15 shots behind leaders Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar — looked particularly poor on the greens Saturday. He four-putted the 13th green from 18 feet (three-putting from 3 feet) for double-bogey. He looked run down, both mentally and physically

“I didn’t putt well at all,’’ Woods said. “I didn’t have a feel for it, I didn’t see my lines, I couldn’t feel my pace. I was just off. It was a long day.’’

Asked if there was anything positive to extract from his day, Woods said, “Well, I’m done. A new day tomorrow.’’

Woods conceded his surgically repaired back felt “stiff,’’ adding, “But I have weeks like that, especially in the cold mornings like it was the other day. [I] don’t quite move as well and that’s just kind of how it’s going to go.’’

Woods, who has spoken this week about his duties as the tournament host adding things to his plate and taking away from his practice time, shot 69 in the first round and slipped to a 73 on Friday. Then there was Saturday, when he made the turn in 41.

“There’s a lot this week, but that’s one of the things I know going into any event I’ve hosted, there’s a lot,’’ he said. “And unfortunately, I’ve hit a lot of shots, so that kind of adds to it, adds to the frustration, I’m sure.’’

Now Woods, with Mexico off his schedule, must figure out what to do next. He’ll surely rest this week, but then have the option to play the Honda Classic, which is in his hometown of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. But if he plays Honda, that would mean three tournaments in a row for him, because Woods always plays the Palmer Invitational and Players Championship.

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