The 14-time major champion will make a return, after a gap of 14 months, at the low-key Safeway Open, which is scheduled to start on Thursday at the Silverado Resort in Napa, California. The 40-year-old had to undergo several back surgeries since his last appearance at the Wyndham Championship.
Woods, who will turn 41 in December, was last seen at the Wyndham Championship on August 23 of 2015, where he managed a 10th-place finish. Since then, he has undergone a lot of surgeries to remedy his troublesome back injuries.
Safeway Open, which is usually a very low-key event, has suddenly attracted a lot of attention after the news of Woods' return. An earlier report suggested that Phil Mickelson is also set to be in action at California this week, and this has pumped up the ticket sales. The organizers have received requests for 106 media credentials, compared to just 45 last year.
"I'm sort of glad I’m not there that week. It's going to be a bit of a circus," Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy said, reported AFP.
Woods is yet to win an event since lifting the 2013 WGC Bridgestone Invitational. It was the 79th PGA Tour title of his career leaving him three shy of the record held by Sam Snead. However, Sweden`s Jesper Parnevik believes the star is back to his best.
"We`ve played nine holes together. He's pounding it a mile and flushing everything... his trajectory and ball flight are like the Tiger we knew 15 years ago," Parnevik told Golf Digest earlier this month.
"Comebacks are never a sure thing, but something tells me his might be spectacular."
Like most, McIlroy is also eager to see what Tiger Woods can deliver on his return.
"He brings an aura and an atmosphere to a tournament that no one else in golf can bring.
"It's different trying to get back from an injury at 40 years old than it is when you're in your 20s or early 30s. I think that’s why it’s been over a year since we have seen him on a golf course.
"It would be great to see him give it one last shot... hopefully, he can get back on the course and stay healthy for a prolonged period of time and give it one last go," McIlroy concluded.
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