Inside Tiger Woods' 2018-19 season

Tiger Woods entered last year with uncertainty. How will his body and swing hold up? Will he turn into a ceremonial golfer or figure out a way to be competitive on the biggest stages again?

He answered that question by contending at two majors and then winning the Tour Championship.

This season, a new question stood on the first tee with him: Will he win another major?

On a memorable Sunday in April at Augusta National, he answered that question by winning the Masters. The long, long wait was over. The drought -- 14 years since his last Masters win, 11 years since his last major championship -- was over.

So, now, a new question: What's next?

Woods missed the cut at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Now, he ramps up his game for the U.S. Open at famed Pebble Beach.

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

This week

The Memorial

This was all about getting some work in -- taking positives away from his last competitive rounds before heading off to the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, which begins June 13. While there were lower numbers out there for him this week -- Tiger more than once got off to hot starts on the front, then cooled on the back -- his steady week earned a tie for ninth and good vibes going into the year's third major. "I was hoping I could get something positive going into the [U.S. Open], and I was able to accomplish that, which is great,'' Woods said. "And get some nice positive momentum going into a nice practice week.'' Three under-par rounds, including a final-round 67, did just that.

Key stat: The back nine was what separated Woods from a chance to win. He was 11 under on the front nine for the week -- which was tied for best in the field. He was 2 over on the back. His birdie percentage on the front was 36%; it was 19% on the back.

Round 1: 70
Round 2: 72
Round 3: 70
Round 4: 67
Finish: T-9

Earlier this year ...

The PGA Championship

The long road back was complete. Woods had won the Masters. Now what? After the triumphant victory, Woods disappeared. He did not play a single competitive round between that Masters win and the opening round of the PGA, at difficult Bethpage Black. Would there be rust?

After he played just nine holes of practice from Monday to Wednesday -- bad weather and a cold kept him away from full practice rounds -- that question loomed larger as he stepped to the first tee Thursday morning with defending champ Brooks Koepka and Open champion Francesco Molinari. Woods struggled mightily from the start. He opened with 72, then backed that up with 73. He needed birdie at the last to make the cut. It didn't happen. Still, he seemed oddly content, happy with moving on from Bethpage Black and focused on his major championship win at the Masters rather than his missed cut at the PGA.

"You know, I've enjoyed being the Masters champion again, and the PGA was a quick turnaround, and unfortunately, I just didn't play well," he said.

Key stat: A must at Bethpage Black was finding the fairway. The length of the course and thickness of the rough made accuracy imperative. In the second round, when Woods needed to steady things and post a number to make the weekend, he hit just 3 of 14 fairways.

Round 1: 72
Round 2: 73
Finish: Missed cut

The Masters

There were moments, many of them actually, that led to the conclusion this day would never come again. Yet, there walked Tiger Woods, in a red mock turtleneck that hearkened to 2005, the year he last claimed a green jacket, strolling up the 18th green early Sunday afternoon about to claim another major championship. It was a wild ride -- weather delays, a collision with a security guard, a loaded leaderboard with big names and past major winners -- but Woods raised his arms in triumph and hugged his son behind the 18th green in a scene reminiscent of the one he shared with his own father back in 1997.

Woods entered the final round trailing Francesco Molinari, the same person who stared down Tiger seven months earlier at Carnoustie to claim The Open. The come-from-behind win marked the first time Woods had ever started Sunday without the lead or a piece of the lead and gone on to win a major.

Key stat: The gap between wins at the Masters for Tiger -- 2005 to 2019 -- is the longest in history. It eclipses the 13-year stretch between Gary Player's wins in 1961 and 1974.

Round 1: 70
Round 2: 68
Round 3: 67
Round 4: 70
Finish: Win

  • Full leaderboard for the Masters

  • How Tiger made the earth shake again at Augusta National. READ

  • Tiger and the Masters win even he never saw coming. READ

  • Roundtable: How many more majors will Tiger win now? READ

  • Social media goes wild over Tiger's win. READ

  • The chase to catch Nicklaus' 18 majors is a conversation again. READ

  • How to bet Tiger for the rest of the year. READ

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

That Tiger teed it up came as a surprise. The possibility of seven rounds in four days seemed a bit excessive for a guy who said he wanted to better plan his schedule and not play too much. But missing the Arnold Palmer Invitational -- he withdrew with a neck issue -- meant he was short on reps with the Masters looming. His showing was a productive step as he built toward Augusta. After a win against Aaron Wise and a loss again Brandt Snedeker, Tiger needed a win over Patrick Cantlay and a Snedeker loss to advance out of pool play and get into the round of 16. Both happened, setting up a showdown with Rory McIlroy. Woods won the match everyone wanted to see, then missed a four-footer later in the day to lose to Lucas Bjerregaard. But the objective was achieved. He came here wanting meaningful rounds leading to the Masters. He got that -- and a big-time win over McIlroy.

Key stat: Tiger loves the big match at the Match Play. Four times he has played a former or eventual No. 1 player in the world. Each time, Woods has won. Here is the list of former or future No. 1 players Woods has taken down: McIlroy (2019), Nick Price (2005), Adam Scott (2003) and Nick Faldo (1999).

Match 1: Win vs. Aaron Wise, 3 & 1
Match 2: Loss vs. Brandt Snedeker, 2 & 1
Match 3: Win vs. Patrick Cantlay, 4 & 2
Match 4: Win vs. Rory McIlroy, 2 & 1
Match 5: Loss vs. Lucas Bjerregaard, 1 Up

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 built 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 would be back for the WGC Dell-Technologies Match play. That would 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 headed 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 -- wasn'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 worked 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

What to expect in 2019

  • Can Tiger get to No. 1 again? READ

  • Answering every big Tiger question for 2019. READ

  • 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

How he closed 2018 ...

Hero World Challenge

After a lengthy layoff after 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

The Match

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.


Lost 1-up in 22 holes

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

  • How and why Tiger lost. READ