UPDATE: I’ll post Tiger’s thoughts on this directly from his press conference last night, so you get his thoughts unedited:
Q. Can I [ask] you about the Abu Dhabi news that came out today? Was it a tough decision, because it’s the same week as Torrey Pines?
TIGER WOODS: It was a tough position, but Abu Dhabi has been fantastic for our foundation. They have been a partner of ours for a very long time and I played HSBC before it became a World Golf Championships because of that, and this is just an extension of that.
Q. Is it safe to say that will be your first tournament next year?
TIGER WOODS: That will be the first tournament next year, that’s correct, it will be.
Q. Do you know what you’ll play in the U.S. first, like Match Play?
TIGER WOODS: Not yet. Probably in the next couple of weeks we’ll sit down and finalize that so I can give Joey the schedule.
Q. Will that be the only one there?
TIGER WOODS: That is correct, I’m only playing one.
ORIGINAL POST: Yes, you read that right. Tiger Woods will skip the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines next year, his traditional start to the PGA Tour season where he’s won a handful of times including the 2008 U.S. Open and instead play in Abu Dhabi at the HSBC Champions event there. The events take place the same week, January 26-29.
This also means he will no longer play in the Dubai Desert Classic.
I’m shocked, to be honest with you, because Tiger has said multiple times that he loves Torrey Pines and it is one of his favorite places to play.
This also leads to a bunch of questions which have no answer at the moment: 1) Is he hoping the European Tour schedule gets changed in the near future so that these events would not conflict? 2) Did something happen last year at the Farmers Insurance Open which made him feel OK to miss the event? 3) Is this a money deal? (He might get upwards of $2 million in appearance fees. 4) Now that Torrey is out, will he make it up by playing in another West Coast event? Phoenix? Pebble? LA?
All questions which right now have no answer.