Tiger Woods announced on his website Wednesday morning that he hopes to return to competitive golf next month, starting with a tournament in Napa, California.
Woods, who has been recovering from two back surgeries in 2015, said he hopes to start the 2016-17 season with three events. The first event would be the Safeway Open from Oct. 13-16, in Napa. Woods then plans to play in the Turkish Airlines Open from Nov. 3-6, in Antalya, Turkey. His final event of 2016 would be the Hero World Challenge from Dec. 1-4, at Albany in the Bahamas. The Hero World Challenge is run by Woods’ foundation.
“My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do,” Woods said. “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.”
Woods also is planning to participate in the Tiger Woods Invitational on Oct. 10-11 on the Monterey Peninsula.
Mark Steinberg, Woods’ agent, told GolfChannel.com in an email in July that Woods wouldn’t play at all during the 2015-16 season and would continue to rehab and assess when to return during the 2016-17 season.
Woods, 40, last played in August 2015 in the Wyndham Championship. He played in all four majors in 2015, missing the cut in the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Woods, who has won 14 majors, missed four straight majors for the first time in his career in 2016.
“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 said. “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 missed the 2014 Masters and U.S. Open because of his ailing back. He missed the 2011 U.S. Open and British Open because of an injured left leg. Woods missed the 2008 British Open and PGA Championship after ACL surgery on his left knee. Woods won the U.S. Open in 2008 at Torrey Pines in California while playing on his injured knee, the last major victory of his career.
Woods will return to the golf spotlight later this month as a vice captain for the U.S. team in the Ryder Cup, which is scheduled from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.