The last tournament Tiger Woods played was the PNC Championship in December 2020, when he partnered his son Charlie to a 7th place finish in the parent-child event. Organizers are apparently hopeful it will also be the next tournament we see Woods play.
Three sources familiar with the situation confirmed to Golfweek that the PNC Championship is keeping a place open for Woods in the limited-field event, which begins in just three weeks. Organizers had planned to complete the field without the 15-time major winner, who has been recovering from serious injuries sustained in a February 23 car wreck.
“The message came: not just yet!” one source familiar with the circumstances said.
The PNC Championship pairs major winners with a family member and will be played December 18-19, with pro-am days on December 16-17. It is held at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando. The PNC field is limited to 20 teams, but just 18 pairs have so far been announced for the 2021 event. Multiple sources told Golfweek that one of those slots is earmarked for Woods and the now 12-year-old Charlie, and that the event will give Woods as much time as possible to decide if he’s healthy enough to play.
“We can go pretty late. The draw gets done week of,” a source closely involved with the event explained. The source requested anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.
Earlier this week, Woods posted a three-second video clip of himself hitting an iron shot on a practice range. It was the first time he had been seen hitting balls since surviving that horrific crash nine months ago. The clip quickly racked up more than 7 million views.
The caption on Woods’s video—just two words: “Making progress”—led to a flurry of speculation that he will return to the PGA Tour in 2022. But few thought it realistic that he might possibly be only weeks away from playing again in public.
Woods made his debut at the PNC Championship in 2020, but it was Charlie who stole the show, much to his father’s obvious delight. A few weeks after that tournament, Woods was sidelined with another back surgery to remove a bone fragment that was pinching a nerve. On February 23, just after hosting the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, Woods narrowly escaped death when the SUV he was driving left the road and tumbled down a ravine. He underwent surgery for extensive injuries to his right leg.
In both the video he posted and in a recent public sighting as he watched Charlie at junior golf tournament, Woods was still wearing a sleeve on that leg.
The PNC Championship, formerly known as the Father-Son Challenge, began in 1995. The field for the 2021 edition includes legends like Tom Watson, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and John Daly. Nelly Korda will also make her debut, playing alongside her father, tennis great Petr Korda.
This article originally appeared on Golfweek.