Tiger Woods commits to return to golf at Safeway Open on Oct. 13
Big Cat is now officially back and will tee it up for the first time in more than a year
One month after announcing that he hoped to return to golf at the Safeway Open, Tiger Woods has officially confirmed he will play in the event, which is to be held from Oct. 13-16 at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California.
Woods, 40, has not played in more than a year due to two back surgeries and rehabilitation that have kept him out of action.
In addition to playing in the Safeway Open, which was previously known as the Frys.com Open, Woods said in September he plans to play the Turkish Airlines Open and the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas this December.
"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 said last month.
Woods has not played a professional event since the Wyndham Championship in August 2015, a tournament in which he was in contention. After that, he had his second and third back procedures, his last in October 2015. In missing the entire 2015-16 season, Woods has played in just 11 tournaments over the last three PGA Tour seasons.
It's been a long time since we've seen Tiger Woods on the golf course and even longer since we've seen him contending.
How many days since Tiger's last ...— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) October 7, 2016
PGA Tour Round - 411 days
PGA Tour Top-5 - 1139 days
PGA Tour win - 1160 days
Major win - 3046 days
Phil Mickelson has also committed to play the Safeway Open, so all of a sudden we're going to have a major-like atmosphere in the middle of October for the first event of the 2016-17 season. There is some speculation that Woods and Mickelson could be paired together as a means of promoting the event.
His pal Notah Begay recently said that whenever Woods returns it will likely be his last run as a pro. The last chapter. I believe it. Three back procedures in less than two years is a big deal when you swing with the ferocity of a Tiger Woods.
Another friend, Jesper Parnevik, told Golf Digest that Woods is "pounding it a mile and flushing everything" during practice. "On the range, at least, 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," he added.
"It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn't rush it," added Woods last month. "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."
It's going to be fascinating to see how this last portion of one of the great careers in modern sports history unfolds. Will he try to be 22-year-old Tiger, or will he play the role of laid-back, wily Tiger who can win tournament with his head in lieu of his ball-striking?
We will find out starting on Oct. 13.
Live scores, analysis, updates and highlights from Round 3 of the 119th United States Open
Big Cat is getting them to fall at Pebble Beach
Friday was a strange day nearly anywhere but on the actual golf course in Pebble Beach, Ca...
Watch every shot Tiger Woods -- and others -- hit at Pebble Beach on Saturday
Follow along as Tiger Woods aims for major victory No. 16 at Pebble Beach
Find out when your favorite golfers tee off in Round 3 at Pebble Beach on Saturday