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At long last, Tiger Woods may finally be returning to golf.
On Wednesday, Woods announced on his website that he “hopes” to play three tournaments in the fall, the first of which is the Safeway Open on October 13th – a little more than one month away – the first event of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.
“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.”
Woods has not played a competitive round of golf since August 15, having been sidelined following numerous back surgeries. While Woods’ return has been rumored and falsely reported on numerous occasions in the past, the announcement on Wednesday is the most official news we’ve had thus far.
Along with the Safeway Open, Woods is eyeing the Turkish Airlines Open (November 3), and the Tiger Woods Foundation-run Hero World Challenge (December 1). According to his website, he will also participate in the Tiger Woods Invitational on Oct. 10-11.
“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.
“It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn’t rush it. 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.”
Whether Woods is healthy enough to play four rounds in four days, and whether he can legitimately compete on the leaderboard over the course of a tournament are, of course, two different questions. For now, though, let’s celebrate Tiger’s (likely) return.
Golf is simply more interesting when Tiger is playing.