Tiger Woods will make his return to competitive golf in next week's World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship at Dove Mountain, after knee surgery caused him to miss eight months of competition.
Woods will be part of a field that is expected to feature the top 64 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, including Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson.
The only doubt is Englishman Justin Rose, whose wife Kate is expected to give birth to the couple's first child within the next few days.
The top 64 from the World Ranking released on Feb. 16 have until 5 p.m. ET tomorrow (Feb. 20) to officially commit to the tournament. Brackets will be released on Sunday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. ET, when they become official.
“Elin and our new son Charlie are doing great,” said Tiger Woods in a story posted to his web site. “I’ve enjoyed my time at home with the family and appreciate everyone’s support and kind wishes.
“I’m now ready to play again.”
Woods will return to Marana, Ariz., as defending champion and a three-time winner at the Accenture Match Play Championship, with victories in 2003, 2004 and 2008. Fifteen of his 65 PGA TOUR victories have come at World Golf Championships events in 26 career starts. Woods is the all-time money leader in the series, earning $20,825,833. He also has the most match wins (31) in Accenture Match Play Championship history.
Woods won four of the six tournaments that he started in 2008, including his dramatic playoff victory over Rocco Mediate at the U.S. Open, before needing surgery.
“We are delighted that Tiger is returning to competition and look forward to watching him compete next week,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem.
“We are thrilled Tiger Woods will be here to defend his title,” said Accenture Match Play Championship Executive Director Wade Dunagan. “Tiger has been the dominant player in this tournament’s history and in all of the World Golf Championships events. Combine Woods’ return with our new venue at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, a field that includes some of the best young players the game has seen in quite some time and players who have taken the stage in Tiger’s absence, and this has the makings of the most exciting event in this tournament’s history.”