Tiger Woods’ future at Memphis PGA Tour event? Why Notah Begay III calls it a ‘big ask’

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Tiger Woods has never participated in the PGA Tour event played annually at TPC Southwind in Memphis.

Not when it was a regular stop on Tour. Not when it became a World Golf Championship event. He won’t be at this week’s FedEx St. Jude Championship, the first time in the 65-year history of the tournament that it is part of the FedExCup Playoffs.

And he may never make it to Memphis, according to Notah Begay III.

Whether Woods will ever play in Memphis is always a popular topic this time of year. Begay was Woods’ teammate at Stanford. When Begay was inducted into the college’s athletics hall of fame, he was inducted by Woods, who said they’ve been “brothers for life.”

Begay is back in Memphis this week as a member of the Golf Channel/NBC Sports television broadcast crew. He won at TPC Southwind in 2000, and last played here in 2006. He weighed in on the chances that Woods will ever walk the fairways in Memphis during an interview this week with The Commercial Appeal.

“I think that would be a big ask,” Begay said. “Only because the amount of golf he’s going to play moving forward is going to be limited. He would have to have a huge performance in one of the majors, or a couple of events early in the year, to even make the playoffs.”

As the first tournament of the FedExCup Playoffs, only the top 125 golfers in the FedExCup standings qualify for the FedEx St. Jude Championship. The 46-year-old Woods, who has just one top-10 finish since 2019, is currently 230th in the FedExCup standings. It’s been three years since Woods qualified for the PGA Tour’s three-event postseason.

As the FedExCup Playoffs are structured, the top 125 in the standings are eligible for the FedEx St. Jude Championship. The top 70 eligible players will qualify for next week’s BMW Championship at Wilmington (Delaware) Country Club, with the top 30 after the BMW earning spots in the field for the season-ending TOUR Championship at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club.

“The fact that it’s the first in the series elevates the chances that Tiger could show up at some point,” Begay said. “I think if he gets a couple of top 10s in the major championships, he might make enough points to, sort of, sneak into the 125. If you were asking about East Lake, it would be a lot more uncertainty. That would be quite a bit of work to put in for a whole year.”

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