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Tiger Mania II could strike PGA Tour Champions soon, chasing US Senior

Tiger Mania II could strike PGA Tour Champions soon, chasing US Senior

The U.S. Senior Open is being held at a fantastic venue this week at Newport Country Club in Rhose Island, but two years from now it will take on an entirely different profile at the Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio.

At the course that shaped Jack Nicklaus into an 18-time major winner, Tiger Woods will be eligible for the field for the first time, and he’s strongly hinted that he’d like to win the title and fancies the chance to break a tie of nine USGA national championships with Bobby Jones. Winning at Scioto would make Woods the first player to achieve a Grand Slam of sorts: the U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Junior (3), U.S. Amateur (3) and U.S. Open (3).

“He’d love to win that Grand Slam and get some of the other senior majors on his CV,” Padraig Harrington said. “I saw him at the course (during the PNC Championship) and we were just crossing paths and he laughed at me. I won’t say exactly what he said but the gist of it was he can’t wait to get out and beat me.”

Tiger Mania II could be ready to strike the PGA Tour Champions, and PGA Tour Champions President Miller Brady cannot wait. Two years ago, at the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin, Brady waited out a rain delay in an equipment trailer with tournament host Steve Stricker when Stricker broached the topic of the eligibility age for the senior circuit. Stricker, the leading money winner last season, proposed it was time to revisit whether 50, the age restriction since the creation of the tour in 1980, still made sense as the start of golf’s ultimate mulligan.

“I said, ‘No, we just did this,’ ” recalled Brady of a study the tour conducted in 2021. “He goes, ‘I know, I know.’ I said, ‘Unless Tiger tells me he’d play right now. (If that’s the case), I’ll lower the age tomorrow.’ ”

If ever the age limit was going to be lowered, this seemed to be the time so Stricker whipped out his phone and promptly texted Tiger. Stricker’s message was succinct and to the point: If we lower the age would you play the Champions tour? Stricker remembers nervously staring at three bubbles as the 15-time major winner and 82-time PGA Tour champion, “The Needle,” “The Goat,” – take your pick – responded right away.

“No, I’m not ready,” Woods wrote. “I want to follow in the same footsteps as Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Bernhard Langer.”

In short, Tiger doesn’t want a head start before he becomes Champions tour-eligible on…


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