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Tiger Watch

Jack Nicklaus gives a strong clue about Tiger Woods playing on the senior tour

March 11, 2023
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Tiger Woods used a cart with his son Charlie during the 2022 PNC Championship.

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It has been one of the better golf barstool debates for a while: Will Tiger Woods play on PGA Tour Champions after he turns 50 in December 2025? I’ve always taken it one step further: Who will play more on the Champions Tour, Woods or Phil Mickelson?

That may be moot if Mickelson never returns from LIV Golf and has no chance to play with the older set. But it’s always been the belief in this corner that Tiger would, if he was physically capable of playing, be more inclined to hang with the older guys because he was, frankly, more popular among them and is more of a locker room guy than Phil. Beyond that, it’s always seemed like Mickelson would become more easily bored, though he certainly enjoyed winning four Champions events in short order once he turned 50.

Tiger’s senior plans have been undefined, but Jack Nicklaus might have provided some pretty strong clues in a podcast chat this week on Nick Faldo’s “Sir Nick Roundtable Chats.”

Faldo and Nicklaus were lamenting Woods’ struggles to walk for long distances in the aftermath of the injuries he suffered in his car accident, and Nicklaus brought up the idea of Tiger using a cart. Any player on the senior tour can use a cart, while regular tour players must apply for that ability if they have a disability.

“I told him, ‘Tiger, you’re eligible to take a cart.’ He says, ‘I’m not going to do that.’ He says, ‘When I get to the senior tour, I will.’”

Faldo followed up with the question we all had: “Oh. He’s actually thinking he would come back out at 50?”

“He wants to play the senior tour,” Nicklaus replied.

“Wow. How about that?” Faldo said.

“Well, he’s a competitor,” Nicklaus said.

“That’s probably a secret,” Faldo said.

Actually, Woods has hinted at playing with the seniors on a couple of occasions. Last December at the PNC Championship, he was asked about using a cart and said, “On the PGA Tour, no. On the sanctioned events where it’s allowed, yes, which is the Champions Tour, PNC, things of that nature.”

It makes a lot of sense. We figure that Woods believes he can tear it up on the Champions and what else is he going to do? His son, Charlie, turned 14 last month and may have some sporting events for Tiger to watch in ’26, but that’s a very brief window. It seems like the 15-time major winner would relish mixing it up and shooting the breeze with his old buddies.

If Woods does play Champions, the circuit figures to get a boost in popularity it has never seen before. And in that, if Mickelson isn’t there, it’ll be sad, because the two rivals embodied the sport’s greatness for 25 years.