Former World No 1, Tiger Woods will return to professional golf action for the first time since August 2015 after confirming that he will play the PGA Tour season-opener at the Safeway Open in California.
Woods, 40, has had surgery on his back twice since his last competitive appearance in a tournament. Having delayed his comeback to the golfing world for a whole season his eyes have been set on return at Silverado in Napa.
This was confirmed when last month, the BBC reporting that Woods was ranked 767 in the world, that he would play the Safeway Open “depending on his progress and recovery”.
Tiger Woods has not played on the PGA Tour in 2015-16 and only made 11 starts during his previous season of the 2014-15 season due to a reoccurring back injury. Which was again addressed in August 2015 as he underwent microdiscectomy surgery.
The 14-time Major Champions highlight of that season was his top 10 at the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. After holding the 36-hole lead he went on to finish tied for 10th.
Woods has not been totally away from the games headlines in recent months. Last week he carried out his role as vice-captain for the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup Team at Hazeltine National. Now he has been made a 2017 U.S. Presidents Cup vice-captain by Steve Stricker, along with Davis Love III and Fred Couples.
The 14-time major winner has also pointed to committing to a number of other tournaments on the other side of the Atlantic in November and December. He will play in the Turkish Airlines Open, part of the European Tour’s Final Series, and will tee-up at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
Woods has 79 PGA TOUR titles to his name, second to Sam Snead’s record 82, with his last coming 38 months ago in Ohio and his last major triumph came at the 2008 US Open.
Having had a back operation in March 2014, followed by another in September 2015 with a follow-up procedure to relieve pain in August 2015, the much-anticipated return of the ‘goat’ is going to be huge and the build up has already started.
Sweden’s Jesper Parnevik, bringing the best news so far, saying Woods is looking to impress on his return to competition. Telling Golf Digest:
“By the way, he’s been hitting a lot of balls, and he’s hitting it great. He’s pounding it a mile and flushing everything.”
“His trajectory and ball flight are like the Tiger we knew 15 years ago.”
“Comebacks are never a sure thing, but something tells me his might be spectacular.”
Similarly, there is a lot of speculation surrounding which clubs Woods will use upon return, after the news that Nike will no longer manufacture golf clubs or balls. With the biggest rumour being that he will be playing a Taylormade M1 driver, Mizuno Irons and a Bridgestone golf ball – we’ll have to wait and see.
However, before Tiger get underway in Napa on Thursday he will test his back at the Tiger Woods Invitational at the Monterey Peninsula on October 10th. Before having to travel a mammoth distance of 150 miles up the West Coast for the Safeway Open.