Tiger Woods Helps Struggling Gary Woodland to Provide Relief Amid Injury Woes

Published 02/11/2024, 5:00 AM EST

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It was a tough 2023 season for Gary Woodland. Mid-season, the 39-year-old noticed that he was more anxious than usual; fear had always followed him on the golf course and his energy was draining even while doing small tasks. After taking a few diagnostic tests, Woodland found a tumor on his brain.

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He underwent surgery to remove the lesion from his brain. The 4-time PGA Tour winner made a comeback on the Tour in January 2024. And recently found a supporting shoulder, while post-injury struggles remain. Tiger Woods who has struggled with several injuries himself, had decided to secure Woodland’s next appearance on the PGA Tour.

Tiger Woods becomes a ray of hope for Gary Woodland

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The last three events played by Gary Woodland, unfortunately, did not end as he would’ve expected. The 39-year-old golfer missed the cut at all times, as recently as the Phoenix Open. Moreover, he could not play at Pebble Beach, where he won his only major championship (U.S. Open) in 2019. This season, based on his performance, Woodland was destined to miss the Genesis Invitational. However, he may not do so now.

Golf.com reports that the host of the Genesis Invitational sent the exemption on Friday evening for the upcoming event, making Woodland eligible for the $20 million showdown at Riviera Country Club. Unlike the AT&T PB Pro-Am, where Adam Scott, Webb Simpson, Peter Malnati, and Maverick McNealy received an exemption, sparking many doubts. The decision was met with disapproval as players, 3 out of 4 of the exempted players hold high-ranking positions with the organization and are members of the Player Advisory Council.

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The 82-time PGA Tour winner will also be playing on a sponsor exemption himself, as the field for any signature events is limited, and only previous supporters and top players can qualify. With Woods and Woodland, Adam Scott and Will Zalatoris will also be playing on sponsor’s exemption.

 

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While the 15-time major winner did help Woodland secure a seat at Riviera CC and showcase his game, another golfer’s success also played a crucial role in guaranteeing his presence at Woods’s invitational.

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Two-time major champ’s OWGR success opens a new door for Gary Woodland

It could have been a disaster for Gary Woodland if Justin Thomas had not performed better at his last event. Thomas started his 2024 season 28th on the OWGR list. At the American Express, the Kentucky native finished tied for third and jumped 23rd in the world. Moreover, at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, he was T6, acquiring 10.9 more points to move to the 19th rank.

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When he made the cut for the Phoenix Open, it was clear that Thomas would not lose his rank and be out of the top 30 and thus qualify for the Genesis Invitational via OWGR qualification criteria. So, the sponsors’s exemption, which was first going to be Thomas’s was now given to Woodland. He will now have two golfers to thank when he tees it up at Riviera CC and makes his third official appearance in the 2024 PGA Tour season.

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Written by:

Khambe Huda Imran

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Huda Khambe is a Golf Writer for EssentiallySports. Growing up watching Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam bag one major after the other, Huda Khambe set herself on a path to becoming a sports writer early on. With a year of prior experience in writing, Huda now brings the greens to life with her unique insights on her favorite storylines, such as Jack Nicklaus's record rivalry with Tiger Woods and its impact on both stars.
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Edited by:

Tushhita.barua

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