Woods to re­turn next week at Muir­field Vil­lage

The Maui News - - Sports - By DOUG FER­GU­SON The As­so­ci­ated Press

DUBLIN, Ohio — The PGA Tour re­turned five weeks ago with some of its strong­est fields. Now it gets its big­gest star.

Tiger Woods an­nounced Thurs­day on Twit­ter he will play next week at the Me­mo­rial, a tour­na­ment he has won a record five times, as he goes af­ter his record 83rd ca­reer vic­tory on the PGA Tour.

“I’ve missed go­ing out and com­pet­ing with the guys and can’t wait to get back out there,” Woods said.

It will end a five-month break from com­pe­ti­tion for Woods. He last played on Feb. 16 at the Gen­e­sis In­vi­ta­tional, where he shot 7677 at chilly Riviera to fin­ish alone in last place.

Woods said he felt stiff­ness in the cold weather. He chose not to go to Mex­ico City for a World Golf Cham­pi­onship event, then skipped three straight tour­na­ments in Florida be­fore golf was halted be­cause of the COVID-19 pan­demic.

His only com­pe­ti­tion was an ex­hi­bi­tion match on May 24 at his home course in Florida, with Pey­ton Man­ning as his part­ner against Phil Mick­el­son and Tom Brady.

The tour re­sumed June 11 at Colo­nial in Fort Worth, Texas, and most weeks brought some level of spec­u­la­tion that Woods was go­ing to play. He had con­tem­plated com­ing to Muir­field Vil­lage for the Work­day Char­ity Open, a one­time event that re­places the can­celed John Deere Clas­sic, but ul­ti­mately waited un­til the sec­ond week at Me­mo­rial.

That will give him at least one start, and pos­si­bly two if he plays a World Golf Cham­pi­onship event in Ten­nessee, be­fore head­ing into the first ma­jor of a re­con­fig­ured year.

Woods had said in April he was ready to go for the Masters un­til it was post­poned be­cause of the coro­n­avirus. The Masters is now sched­uled for Nov. 12-15, with Woods as the de­fend­ing cham­pion.

The PGA Cham­pi­onship is Aug. 6-9 at Hard­ing Park in San Fran­cisco, where Woods won a World Golf Cham­pi­onship in 2005. The U.S. Open at Winged Foot is sched­uled for Sept. 17-20.

Woods has played only three times this sea­son on the PGA Tour, start­ing with his record­ty­ing 82nd vic­tory at the Zozo Cham­pi­onship in Japan. He also played at Tor­rey Pines and Riviera.

AP file photo

Tiger Woods talks with Jack Nick­laus af­ter Woods won the Me­mo­rial on June 3, 2012.

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