Tiger Woods will return next week at the PGA Tour event near Washington, D.C., 12 weeks after having surgery on his back.
Woods announced the decision Friday afternoon via his Facebook account, acknowledging that he will be “a bit rusty” for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club.
The tournament, in its eighth year, benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation and has a new title sponsor. That likely has something to do with Woods’ decision to try and play, though his agent, Mark Steinberg, said in an interview Friday night that the golfer would not risk his health for the event.
“It’s a fair question,” Steinberg said. “I would tell you that he was coming up to Quicken Loans and Congressional no matter, and was going to be a presence there for the week. The way I know him, I think it’s just a massive benefit that it happens to be the same week as his tournament that the doctors have said you’re ready to go. If the doctors had said you’re still a couple of weeks away, he would not be there (to play).
“He listened and adhered to everything his doctors and trainers told him intently. It would be so counterproductive to go against that at the 11th-and-a-half hour.”
Steinberg would not commit to any events beyond the Quicken Loans, but getting ready for the Open Championship next month at Royal Liverpool, where he won the last of his three Claret Jugs in 2006, would be an obvious reason for trying to get used to tournament golf again.
“After a lot of therapy I have recovered well and will be supporting my foundation next week at the Quicken Loans National,” Woods said in the Facebook post. “I’ve just started to hit full shots but it’s time to take the next step. I will be a bit rusty but I want to play myself back into competitive shape. Excited for the challenge ahead.”
Woods, 38, had a procedure called a microdiscectomy on March 31 to alleviate a pinched nerve in his back. He had played just four times in 2014, with lackluster results. Woods had back problems late last year, but they first became apparent again on March 2 during the final round of the Honda Classic. He withdrew following 13 holes.
A week later, Woods returned for the WGC-Cadillac Championship, where he fired a 66 during the third round to get into contention. But the back issues got worse the next day as Woods shot 78 and failed to make a birdie. He tied for 25th and hasn’t played since.
He missed the Masters for the first time in his professional career as well as last week’s U.S. Open. He has missed six major championships over the past six years.
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