I believe it was last year when the idea of a "Tiger Tour" - a breakaway professional golf tour led by Tiger Woods - was bouncing around the blogosphere, and rattling around inside the heads of golf media members. The idea isn't completely unthinkable. After all, the PGA Tour exists because professional golfers broke away from the PGA of America.
There are lots of reasons to believe that Tiger Woods would never be part of such an effort, but one of the biggest is this: The "Tiger Tour" already exists.
That's the thought that rattled around inside my skull while looking over the 2008 PGA Tour schedule. Tiger Woods already has a relatively set schedule from year-to-year, it's a schedule that is tailored to by the PGA Tour, and it includes all the biggest events most important to Tiger (that's why he plays them, after all).
What tournaments does Tiger play? The majors, foremost. And The Players Championship. That's five tournaments.
Add in the World Golf Championship events. Three more. Eight total.
Tiger's own tournament, of course, the AT&T National. And Arnie's and Jack's events. Three more. Eleven total.
Then there's the FedEx Cup playoffs. Tiger Woods will probably play all four tournaments in 2008, since the Tour added a week off into the mix. But let's play it safe and say he only plays the three he played last year - Deutsche Bank, BMW and Tour Championship. Three more. Fourteen total.
How many tournaments does Tiger play each year? Not many more than that. Which is yet another thing Tiger Woods has in common with his hero Jack Nicklaus. Here's a comparison of Tiger Woods' recent tourney totals with Nicklaus' in the 1970s:
Tiger Woods' totals dropped the past two years first because of the death of his father, then the birth of his daughter. But now that Tiger Woods has kids, that total isn't likely to go up again. We should expect to see Tiger Woods playing 18 tournaments maximum through the rest of his PGA Tour career, and most years only 15, 16 or 17. I suspect he'll stay home with Sam a couple extra weeks this year, limiting himself to 16 tournaments again.
As we've seen above, there are 14 tournaments Tiger will play every year, barring injury. That doesn't leave much room for others. But the little room that is left over is quickly filled up.
The Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines. Tiger Woods always plays the Buick, with a title sponsor he endorses and at a course he enjoys. The Wachovia Championship. He loves the course and the event. That's two more. Sixteen total.
So, there you have it:
2008 Tiger Tour
* Jan. 24-27: Buick Invitational
* Feb. 20-24: WGC Accenture World Match Play
* March 13-16: Arnold Palmer Invitational
* March 20-23: WGC CA Championship
* April 10-13: The Masters
* May 1-4: Wachovia Championship
* May 8-11: Players Championship
* May 28-June 1: The Memorial
* June 12-15: U.S. Open
* July 3-6: AT&T National
* July 17-20: British Open
* July 31-Aug. 3: WGC Bridgestone Invitational
* Aug. 7-10: PGA Championship
* Aug. 28-Sept. 1: Deutsche Bank Championship
* Sept. 4-7: BMW Championship
* Sept. 25-28: Tour Championship
It's possible there could be one or two more - if so, most likely The Barclays (the first "playoff"), maybe the season-opening Mercedes.
These are the biggest tournaments on the schedule. The Tour "protects" these tournaments by setting them off from one another. They offer the most money and prestige (in a few cases helped in both areas because Tiger plays them).
There's no need for a Tiger Tour because we already have one.