Sat, Feb 21, 2009 - Page 20 News List

Woods to make much-anticipated return next week


Tiger Woods will return to the PGA Tour following the longest layoff of his career by competing in next week’s World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

“I am now ready to play again,” Woods said on Thursday. “Elin and our new son Charlie are doing great. I’ve enjoyed my time at home with the family and appreciate everyone’s support and kind wishes.”

The tournament will be the 14-time major winners’ first event since an epic US Open victory last June at Torrey Pines. Woods made the announcement on his Web site,

Eight days after his US Open triumph, Woods underwent season-ending surgery to reconstruct the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Woods also had stress fractures in his left tibia, injuries that affected him during his gritty US Open win, in which he needed 91 holes to defeat Rocco Mediate.

Mediate said Woods’ return is a blessing.

“He’s the man. He is the king,” Mediate said while competing at the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles on Thursday. “And I will guarantee you he wins that tournament next week. You think he is coming out not going to give 180,000 percent. He is not coming out to say, ‘Let’s see how I do.’ He is still Tiger.”

The timing for Woods’ return was affected by several factors and not just the rehab on his knee. Woods’ wife Elin just gave birth to their second child, Charlie Axel, on Feb. 8.

“We received confirmation today that Tiger Woods has committed to play in next week’s Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Arizona” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said on Thursday. “We are delighted that Tiger is returning to competition and look forward to watching him compete next week.”

Woods will be included in the 64-player field that begins play on Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club course in Marana, Arizona.

Woods has won the Accenture Match Play Championship three times, including last year when he beat Stewart Cink 8 and 7 in the 36-hole championship match. Of his nine starts at the Accenture Match Play Championship, he has seven top 10s.

Woods is scheduled to face Brendan Jones in the opening round on Wednesday unless someone withdraws from the event.

World No. 64 Jones played in his first Accenture Match Play Championship last year and lost to Australian compatriot Adam Scott 2 and 1 in the first round. Woods trails only Jack Nicklaus (18) with his 14 major victories.

Woods won four times in his six starts on the tour last year and placed second in the Masters. He also won the PGA European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic.

Woods did not finish lower than fifth in the half dozen starts last season — which was also halted for some time by arthroscopic surgery on the same knee on April 15.

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