Woods to return at the Masters
April 03, 2015
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods hasn't teed it up since the Farmers Insurance Open in February. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods will return to golf next week at the Masters, he announced Friday on his website.
It will be the first start for Woods since early February when he withdrew during the opening round of the Farmers Insurance Open, where he cited lower back pain after a lengthy weather delay. The following week he said he was taking a break from competition until his game was "tournament-ready."
Woods, a four-time Masters champion, missed last year's tournament due to back surgery.
"I'm playing in the Masters," said Woods, who played two practice rounds at Augusta National earlier this week. "It's obviously very important to me, and I want to be there.
"I've worked a lot on my game and I'm looking forward to competing. I'm excited to get to Augusta and I appreciate everyone's support."
The current eight-week break from golf is the second-longest of Woods' career that was not injury-related. In 2010, Woods sat out the first 13 weeks for personal reasons and returned at the Masters, where he tied for fourth.
But his game was in much better shape then.
In 2009, Woods won six times, finished second three times, including at the PGA Championship, and was No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Last year, Woods underwent back surgery and made just seven starts. He missed the cut or withdrew from four of them and completed four rounds just twice. His best finish was a tie for 25th in a no-cut limited-field event at Trump National Doral, where he broke par just once.
After missing the cut at the PGA Championship at Valhalla and failing to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs, Woods took four months off to heal his body. He also parted ways with coach Sean Foley in August and three months later hired Chris Como as a "swing consultant."
When Woods came back in December at Isleworth Country Club for the Hero World Challenge, a tournament he runs, he looked leaner and his swing more fluid. His short game was another story. Woods chunked four chip shots and left another in a bunker in an opening-round 77. He went on to tie for last in the 18-player field, finishing 26 strokes behind winner Jordan Spieth.
Woods' struggles continued in his first start of 2015 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he again fatted or bladed several shots. He shot a career-high 82 in the second round and missed the cut.
A week later at Torrey Pines, the fog rolled in and the temperature dropped just before Woods was set to tee off. Two hours later he did and by his second hole appeared to be in discomfort.
Woods headed for the exit after 11 holes and hasn't played since.
Notah Begay's comments on Tiger Woods' return to The Masters
Tiger's recent finishes at Augusta