‘I’m play­ing in the Masters’: Woods an­nounces re­turn to tour­na­ment golf

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Tiger Woods will play the Masters, mak­ing his re­turn to tour­na­ment golf at the first ma­jor cham­pi­onship of the year next week.

“I’m play­ing the Masters,” Woods said Fri­day in a state­ment posted on his web­site.

The an­nounce­ment fol­lowed weeks of spec­u­la­tion as to whether Woods would feel his game was up to Au­gusta Na­tional.

He hasn’t played in a tour­na­ment since with­draw­ing at Tor­rey Pines on Fe­bru­ary 5 with back pain.

That fol­lowed a dis­mal show­ing at the Phoenix Open, and the 14-time ma­jor cham­pion an­nounced the fol­low­ing week that he was tak­ing an in­def­i­nite break un­til he could im­prove his game to a com­pet­i­tive level.

Woods said all along that he hoped to play the Masters, and an­tic­i­pa­tion that he would in­deed tee it up next Thurs­day in­ten­si­fied when he prac­ticed at the famed course this week.

“It’s ob­vi­ously very im­por­tant to me and I want to be there,” Woods said of a tour­na­ment he has won four times.

“I’ve worked a lot on my game and I’m look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing,” Woods said. “I’m ex­cited to get to Au­gusta and I ap­pre­ci­ate ev­ery­one’s sup­port.”

The 39- year- old Amer­i­can, who claimed the last of his 14 ma­jor ti­tles at the 2008 U.S. Open, will be com­ing off his long­est layup be­fore a ma­jor since the 2010 Masters.

He fin­ished equal fourth that year af­ter five months off in the wake of his in­fa­mous sex scan­dal.

Woods, chas­ing the all-time record of 18 ma­jor ti­tles won by Jack Nick­laus, has fallen to 104th in the world rank­ings, fall­ing out­side the top 100 for the first time since be­fore his first PGA tri­umph at the 1996 Las Ve­gas In­vi­ta­tional.

Woods last won the Masters 10 years ago — eight years af­ter his elec­tri­fy­ing, record-set­ting first ma­jor crown in 1997.

AP

In this April 4, 2012 file photo, Tiger Woods tees off on the 14th hole dur­ing a prac­tice round for the Masters golf tour­na­ment in Au­gusta, Ge­or­gia.

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