Woods confirms tour return in California
Tiger Woods confirmed Friday that he will return to action in California next week after a 14-month absence as he attempts to resurrect his flagging career.
The 14-time major winner has not played since August 2015, undergoing surgery late last year to cure a long-standing back injury.
“Out of action due to injury since August 2015, Tiger Woods will return to PGA Tour competition next week at the Safeway Open, the first event of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season,” the PGA announced in a statement.
“Woods officially committed today to the event, October 10-16 at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California.”
Woods, 40, hasn’t competed since finishing equal 10th at the 2015 Wyndham Championship.
He had back surgery last September and a follow-up procedure to ease discomfort from a pinched nerve.
Woods eventually missed the entire season, skipping all four major championships for the first time in his career.
Woods said last month that he was targetting a return in Napa, saying his rehabilitation “is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans”.
He had left himself some wiggle room, however, in saying on Twitter that he was “hoping” to play in Napa, as well as in the Turkish Airlines Open in November and the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December that benefits his charitable foundation.
“It could be a fun Fall,” Woods said. “It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn’t rush it.”
Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open after battling a number of knee, leg and back injuries. At times he was unable even to hit the ball.
His last title came at the 2013 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
The player who has spent a total of 683 weeks atop the world rankings during his career is now 767th.
Woods played a supporting role as an assistant to US captain Davis Love as the United States defeated Europe 17-11 in the Ryder Cup last week at Hazeltine, where Woods said he enjoyed the challlenge of adapting to a non-playing role.
“I love being out there in the fight with these guys,” Woods said. “I was just in the fight a different way and had to do my role and had to my job in a different way, and it was pretty cool.”
But Woods’s colleagues on tour are looking forward to the buzz he brings as a competitor.
“He brings an aura and an atmosphere that no one else in golf can bring,” Rory McIlroy said at the BMW Championship in September. “I’ve missed that.”