Tiger Woods said he hopes to return to competitive golf next month. The former world number one has been out of action since August last year due to serious back problems which have required surgery.
The 40-year-old has now announced his intention to compete at the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, California, in October. That will come after returning to the course in a more informal setting, at the Tiger Woods Invitational on the Monterey Peninsula, California, three days earlier on October 10.
If all goes well, Woods also hopes he can play in the Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya in November and the Hero World Challenge, which is hosted by his own foundation, at Albany in the Bahamas in December.
Woods said: “My rehab is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do. Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.
“I’m looking forward to going to California for my foundation event and Safeway. I’m also excited to return to Turkey and Albany. It could be a fun fall.”
It was thought Woods may not play on tour this year after he withdrew from the Open and US PGA Championship in July.
The 14-time major winner had entered those events as a matter of routine but said his physical condition was not ready for the rigours of tournament golf. He stressed the importance of taking his time and cited previous bad experience of rushing comebacks.
Since then updates on his condition have been scarce but he is now pleased with his progress.
He 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.
“It was great spending time with my children Sam and Charlie, and also working on a lot of projects including golf-course design, the upcoming 20th anniversary of my foundation and my book about the 1997 Masters.
“But I missed competing. I want to thank all the fans for their kindness and concern. I’ve been a pro about 20 years, and their support has never waned.”
Woods’ last appearance came at the Wyndham Championship in August 2015, where he finished in a tie for 10th. In his absence he has slid to 711th in the world rankings.
He will be back in the public eye at the Ryder Cup later this month as he serves as a vice-captain for the United States team at Hazeltine.
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