Tiger Woods confirms return in Californian event

Contrary to rumours circulating at last week's Ryder Cup, Tiger Woods will indeed make his return to competitive action in the Safeway Open, the opening event of the new PGA Tour wraparound season in California next week.

USA vice captain Tiger Woods during the singles matches on day three of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, USA. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday October 2, 2016. See PA story GOLF Ryder. Photo credit should read: Peter Byrne/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

It will be the 14-time major winner’s first outing since the Wyndham Championship last August, having been forced to take a break from the game to recover from two back operations.

Woods announced early last month that it was his “hope” to be back playing in the Safeway Open, which gets underway next Thursday at Silverado Country Club in Napa.

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He also intimated then that he aimed to play in two other events before the end of the year - The Turkish Airlines Open at Regnum Carya in Belek early next month then his own tournament, the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December.

His commitment to the first of those events was announced by the PGA Tour, with Woods having until 5pm Eastern Time today to make up his mind, though a player can still withdraw after that deadline.

A total of 417 days will have passed between rounds when Woods tees off next week, with the former world No 1 having plummeted from 257th to 767th in the rankings during his lay-off.

Rumours were circulating at last week’s Ryder Cup, where Woods served as one of Team USA’s vice-captains, that the 40-year-old could be about to shelve his planned return, especially after missing out on a full week’s practice.

However, that has not proved to be the case and the Safeway Open organisers will surely be tempted to pair Woods with Phil Mickelson in the opening two rounds after the latter said he’d welcome that possibility.