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Why isn’t Tiger Woods playing at the Memorial Tournament 2024 at Muirfield Village?

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Tiger Woods is the most successful Golfer in the History of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club, designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, but that fact isn’t enough for him to qualify for the 2024 edition, one of the PGA Tour’s Signature Events. The 15-time major winner has emerged victorious on five separate occasions (1999, 2000, 2001, 2009, 2012) in Dublin, Ohio, twice more than Kenny Perry and three times more often than five different players, including Nicklaus himself.

What are the PGA Tour’s Designated Events?

As of this season, “Designated Events” have been rebranded as “Signature Events,” which the PGA Tour describes as “limited-field tournaments with increased purses and FedExCup points that bring together the TOUR’s top performers.”

The Memorial Tournament is one of eight Signature Events in 2024, which have a whopping $20 million prize purse, $4 million of which goes to the winner. That makes them the second most lucrative tournaments on the PGA Tour, along with the Masters at August, after The Players Championship.

Why doesn’t Tiger Woods qualify to play in the 2024 Memorial Tournament?

And the fact that this week’s Memorial Tournament’s has an elevated status as a Signature Event is the reason for Woods’ absence, with players having to meet a number of criteria to be part of the field. Unfortunately for the 48-year-old, previous victories isn’t one of them.

The field at Muirfield Village includes:

  • The Top 50 players from the 2023 FedEx Cup rankings - Woods finished 228th
  • The Top 30 players (not already exempt) from the world rankings - Woods is 820th
  • The Next 10 category (the Top 10 players (not already exempt) in the 2024 FedEx Cup rankings) - Woods is 214th
  • The Swing 5 category (the Top 5 players (not already exempt) who have earned most FedEx Cup points since the Wells Fargo Championship, the last Signature Event) - Woods is a long, long way off
  • Tournament winners of the 2024 PGA Tour - Woods’ last win came at the 2019 Masters
  • Sponsor exemptions

Given his past successes at the Memorial Tournament, it would’ve been plausible to think Woods may have been given one of four sponsor exemptions. But it was not to be, with Alex Noren, Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker the men benefitting instead.

Woods to return to action at the 2024 US Open

Tiger fans will, at least, not have long to wait to see their man back in action. Despite winning the US Open three times, Woods, in theory, doesn’t meet the criteria to play in the 2024 tournament, to be played at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina on 13-16 June, but has been given a special exemption by the USGA.

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