Since it was reported that Tiger Woods plans to ditch Torrey Pines, where he usually kicks off his season, and instead play-for-pay at the Abu Dhabi Championship next January, Woods will add a different event on the West Coast swing to start his year in the U.S. According to the AP, there’s been indication he’ll play the Pebble Beach Pro-Am for the first time since 2002.
Such a move would make sense. Even though AT&T became the second corporate sponsor to drop Woods after revelations of his extramarital affairs in November 2009, it stayed on as the title sponsor of his tournament. Woods no longer is the official host of the AT&T National in early July, but his foundation remains the main charity beneficiary.
Woods had planned to play Pebble Beach in 2010 when he had the AT&T logo on his bag, though that was before his personal life imploded. He could not play last year because it was opposite the Dubai Desert Classic, and Woods was fulfilling an existing contract.
The next best guess as to where we’ll first see Tiger in the States is the Northern Trust Open at Riviera.
Last time he skipped (if you can call it that) Torrey Pines was his first full year on Tour — Tiger was lured to the Middle East and Australia by appearance fees where he won the Asian Honda Classic and tied for eighth at the Australian Masters. Two months later, he won his first green jacket, capturing the ’97 Masters.