GREENSBORO, N.C. – The likelihood of Tiger Woods playing in the Wyndham Championship in just more than two weeks might come down to math. Or it might come down to fortitude. Or maybe it will just come down to the simple premise of golf.
He needs to be playing well.
But as time runs on and golf goes on without him this week, Woods is getting a lot of attention from a golf tournament in which he has never played.
"This is probably our best shot at him," Wyndham Tournament Director Mark Brazil said Monday at Sedgefield Country Club.
Woods left the door open for coming to Greensboro when he said last week that he would consider playing in the Wyndham under certain circumstances.
We've known this all along. He was close to coming last year when an injury during the PGA Championship ended any possibility of him playing here.
He could've played in the Wyndham two years ago, but he said it was his week with the kids.
That was a slap to the Wyndham. That came across as Woods saying it was beneath him to have to play here.
The season is winding down for Woods, who will not play this week in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and who has only two tournaments left to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs. He is 185th in FedEx points and would need to be in the top 125 after the Wyndham to qualify for the first round of the PGA Tour postseason.
Woods likely needs to win one of the two remaining tournaments or possibly have two runner-up finishes to gain enough points to pass the 60 players between him and 125. It's a daunting task, one that Woods has never faced.
"Hopefully, I'll be in the playoffs," he said last week.
Woods is in an odd spot. He has never been forced to play in a tournament, rarely been in a situation where he's not in control of career choices. But this week, he's dealing with the ignominy of having to watch from home a tournament he has won eight times, a tournament he personally put back on the map.
The WGC-Bridgestone was annual affirmation of his place in the game. How will he feel this week having to watch others playing for his trophy? How will the squirming experience affect him next week in the PGA Championship?
And where will his game and his head be after that?
Only then will we know whether Woods will come to Greensboro.
"We're in the perfect slot for somebody like Tiger, who hasn't had the best year," Brazil said. "It was nice that he called us out. We know he's thinking about it."
And the Wyndham is thinking about Tiger.
Brazil said the late commitment from Woods, which would have to be confirmed an hour after the completion of his second round in the PGA Championship, could be a logistical problem for the Wyndham.
"But," he said, "it would be a nice problem."
Brazil said the tournament has already sold more tickets than it sold last year. A late entry from the game's most visible player would require extra security, which the Tour would handle; extra tickets, with as many as 10,000 more fans each day; and double the media credentials.
"We'll just print more tickets," he said. "We'll print a ton of tickets."
The tournament would have work to do, but for now it's Woods who has the work to do. Can he even qualify for the FedEx, even if he does play the PGA Championship and the Wyndham? Would he even want to?
This is what Woods is facing. This is more than golf. This is a bit embarrassing for the best player since Jack Nicklaus. This is a challenge he has never dealt with.
Tournament officials believe he needs to make the cut at the PGA Championship to even consider coming to Greensboro. Many believe he needs to play well at the PGA Championship to get him within striking distance of the top 125, and the extra points available for playing well in a major could give him the boost that he, and the Wyndham, needs.
Woods believes he's playing well, even if recent tournaments suggest otherwise. He has shot in the 60s a few times recently, which caused a media swoon and speculation that he was indeed playing like the man who has won 14 majors, second only to Nicklaus, and 79 PGA events overall, second only to Sam Snead.
But other players were shooting 61s. He was awful at the Open Championship, and he hasn't come close to winning since 2013.
If he is to come here and play for Snead's trophy, it might take a bit of humility on Woods' part. To come here would be a personal challenge and an admission he's not the player he once was. But to not come here would be a sign of resignation, a surrender of sorts by a man who always plays to win, always plays with confidence, always plays to make sure he never has to play in the Wyndham.
For the first time ever, Woods just might need the Wyndham more than the Wyndham needs him.
This article was written by Ed Hardin from News & Record, Greensboro, N.C. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.