In the wake of his catastrophic car wreck, Tiger Woods will first have to learn to walk without crutches before he picks up a club again. There's obviously a chance we've seen the last of Tiger near the top of his game. Even if he fully recovers, he'll be 46 or 47, with a bad back and a surgically repaired leg (or two). He'll be battling the best players in the world, some of whom will be half his age, and they won't concede a thing to the owner of 15 major titles no matter how much respect they have for him or his accomplishments.
Yes, Tiger thrilled us all by winning the 2019 Masters.
Savor that moment forever because chances are no better than 50/50 that he'll be lucky to win ANY PGA Tour event again, much less a major. Tiger certainly will never again play 18 tournaments in a year, as he did as recently as 2018. He probably won't even play 12, which he did in 2019.
In a worst case, but certainly not far fetched scenario, Tiger could retire from the PGA Tour with his current win totals frozen in place. He would remain tied with Sam Snead with 82 career wins, and fall a bit short of Jack Nicklaus and his 18 major titles. Tiger will still have plenty of people arguing he's the greatest golfer of all time, it just won't be as convincing an argument as it could have been had he stayed healthy during his incredible career.
Now, what about Tiger Woods autographs? If you're reading this, you've probably noticed the sports card and memorabilia market has been surging since the pandemic hit a year ago. Covid all but ended spectator access to PGA Tour players, and it's highly questionable whether things will ever get back to a semblance of normalcy. Tiger autographs already had greatly increased in price prior to this latest horrible news.
Consider where authentic Tiger Woods autographs originate. Basically only two places. One: his signing on the golf course before and during tournaments, where he is constantly mobbed, sometimes reluctant to sign at all, and very picky about what he signs when he does take out his Sharpie. Two: Upper Deck Authenticated, which recently jacked up Tiger autograph prices to Michael Jordan levels.
If Tiger isn't quite done playing on the PGA Tour, he can't have more than a few years left in the tank. A retired Tiger won't be completely done with golf. No, he probably won't bother playing for a fraction of the money on the Champions Tour when he turns 50. But he'll show up at tournaments sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation and at Augusta National for the Masters Champions dinner. He'll probably play in some pro-ams and charity events but most of those will be private, if not unannounced.
Tiger will still travel around the world designing golf courses just like Nicklaus. But unless you know someone connected to him or the projects he's working on, you'll never have a shot at seeing him, much less asking for an autograph.
At Tiger Woods Foundation sponsored events like the Genesis Open, Tiger may hang out for a while to watch and hand out the trophy, but he isn't going to spend much time walking around and signing for fans if he isn't playing. He'll mostly be riding around in a golf cart and meeting and greeting VIPs in restricted areas.
What I'm saying is, once Tiger is done playing on the PGA Tour, access to his autograph for free is basically over as well. Unlike many sports stars who retire, Tiger is going to be MUCH HARDER to get post retirement -- possibly almost impossible -- definitely not easier.
If you don't like the Tiger Woods autograph prices now, don't expect them to decrease. In fact, expect just the opposite.