Tiger Woods set to re­turn at Safe­way Open in Cal­i­for­nia

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Two weeks af­ter the PGA Tour sea­son ended, the next one starts Thurs­day and for some fans it can’t get here soon enough: Tiger Woods is re­turn­ing to golf.

Woods made it of­fi­cial on Fri­day by en­ter­ing the Safe­way Open in Napa, Cal­i­for­nia, the first event on the PGA Tour’s wrap­around sched­ule. He has said a month ago that he hoped to play the Safe­way Open at Sil­ver­ado Re­sort, but had un­til Fri­day af­ter­noon to of­fi­cially com­mit.

Woods last played on 23 Au­gust, 2015, at the Wyn­d­ham Cham­pi­onship in a last-minute bid to qual­ify for the FedEx Cup play­offs. A month later, he an­nounced a sec­ond surgery on his back, and then a third one a month af­ter that.

Even through other op­er­a­tions on his knee, the 40-yearold Woods has never spent this long away from com­pe­ti­tion. And never has the No. 767 player in the world at­tracted so much at­ten­tion.

“Sil­ver­ado is the per­fect course for him be­cause it is so straight­for­ward,” tour­na­ment host Johnny Miller said last month when Woods in­di­cated he hoped to play. “I think he’ll love be­ing back in Cal­i­for­nia. If he can get a good first round ... just get some con­fi­dence and spring­board from there.”

Woods plans to play the Turk­ish Air­lines Open next month and then his Hero World Chal­lenge the first week in De­cem­ber, giv­ing him three tour­na­ments in roughly three months to end the year.

Woods said last month his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion was to the point where he was com­fort­able mak­ing sched­ul­ing plans.

He was at the Ry­der Cup as an as­sis­tant cap­tain, mostly walk­ing as he spent time with Dustin John­son, Matt Kuchar, Jor­dan Spi­eth and Pa­trick Reed. Woods this week was named an as­sis­tant to Pres­i­dents Cup Cap­tain Steve Stricker, though Stricker said he would like to see Woods play­ing on the team.

Woods hasn’t won since the 2013 Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional, the 79th ti­tle of his PGA Tour ca­reer. That left him three short of the record held by Sam Snead.

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