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Tiger Woods hasn’t played a round of golf on the PGA Tour since the final round of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera back in February, a day where he shot 77 to finish in last place. Sure, there was the three-month shutdown but even before COVID-19 brought the entire sports world to a screeching halt, Tiger had opted out of many tournaments that he’d normally play due to lingering back issues.

But he looked strong in “The Match” in which he and Peyton Manning defeated Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, leading many to think he’d play in at least one of the first four tournaments when the PGA Tour resumed play. But we now definitely know that won’t be the case. After opting out of the Charles Schwab Challenge, the RBC Heritage, and the Travelers Championship, Tiger Woods missed this past Friday’s deadline to enter the upcoming Rocket Mortgage Classic, which will begin this Thursday at Detroit Golf Club in Michigan.

In skipping this latest tournament, it’s become pretty clear when Tiger Woods will make his return to the PGA Tour.

Tiger Woods has dropped three spots in the world ranking since the PGA Tour resumed play

Despite his last-place finish at the Genesis Invitational back in February, Tiger Woods was still ranked in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking in the No. 9 slot. However, after having to miss some tournaments to deal with the aforementioned back issues, he was at No. 11 when the rankings were frozen after the PGA Tour shut down following the first round of The Players Championship.

Since the restart of the PGA Tour, Tiger has continued to drop. Following the Charles Schwab Challenge, he was ranked 13th in the world. After the RBC Heritage, which many people thought he would play, especially when his yacht was seen heading up the East Coast, he had dropped to No. 14, where he stands currently. The new rankings will be released on Monday morning.

What PGA Tour events are coming up?

The next event on the PGA Tour schedule is the aforementioned Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit. The tour will then head to Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio for two consecutive weeks.

Originally, the tournament following the Rocket Mortgage Classic was supposed to the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. However, with Illinois still having certain COVID-19 restrictions, officials felt the tournament would lose money and canceled it in late May.

So what will happen at Muirfield Village is that the replacement for the John Deere Classic, the Workday Charity Open, will take place from July 9-12 without fans, followed by the Memorial from July 16-19, which will be the first PGA Tour event with fans in attendance. And it’s likely that week that we’ll finally see Tiger Woods back in action.

Tiger Woods will likely make his return at the Memorial

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods | Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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It actually makes a lot of sense for Tiger Woods to make his PGA Tour return at the Memorial. While fans have certainly wanted to see him in action these first few tournaments, he’s likely saving his body for the stretch run that will include the majors and FedEx Cup Playoffs. But there’s also the fact that he’s won the Memorial five times.

It’s highly unlikely that he plays back-to-back weeks at Muirfield and he’d likely opt for the event with fans as opposed to the one without, which gives him another week to ensure his body is ready to go. Whenever Tiger Woods decides to tee it up next, he’ll be going for PGA Tour win number 83, which would give him the all-time record. And don’t you think he might want his idol, Jack Nicklaus, there to see it?