Tiger Woods will make his long-awaited return to competitive golf at next week’s Quicken Loans National, a tournament which benefits his own foundation.
Via his personal Facebook page, Woods said: “After a lot of therapy I have recovered well and will be supporting my foundation next week at the Quicken Loans National. I've just started to hit full shots but it's time to take the next step. I will be a bit rusty but I want to play myself back into competitive shape. Excited for the challenge ahead.”
Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said it is coincidental that Woods' return should come at his own tournament. "[I]f the back wouldn't have responded to date the way it has," he told The Washington Post. "it wouldn't have mattered if it was his tournament."
Steinberg told Golf.com that Woods' schedule beyond the Quicken Loans National "is something we will assess on an ongoing basis."
Woods hasn’t played since undergoing microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in his back on March 31.
He previously competed in three PGA Tour events this year and one on the European Tour. The surgery caused the 14-time major champion to miss the Masters Tournament and U.S. Open, the year’s first two major championships.
Should he compete in each of the last two, he'll be playing at places where he's already won major titles: Royal Liverpool (Open Championship) and Valhalla (PGA Championship).
Also of significance are the FedEx Cup playoffs, for which he is currently ranked 207th, but will need to move into the top 125 to qualify; and the Ryder Cup, for which he is currently ranked 67th on the United States points list. U.S. captain Tom Watson has previously stated he will name Woods as one of his three wild-card picks, should he need to.
Woods was ranked No. 1 on the Official World Golf Ranking at the time of his surgery, but has since dropped to fourth, behind Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson.
In his four previous starts this year, Woods finished T-80 after missing the secondary cut at the Farmers Insurance Open; T-41 at the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship; withdrew from the Honda Classic; and T-25 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
In a blog post to his personal website dated May 5, Woods said of his recovery, “It's a very slow process. I'm still sore. Not from the procedure itself but the incision. I just need to get back to my day-to-day activities, and that's it.”
It was recently reported that Woods was hitting full shots near his South Florida home, including those with a driver.
When he returns next week, it will be with a new bag sponsor. It was announced Wednesday that Woods has signed a deal with MusclePharm, a sports supplement and nutrition brand.
The Greenbrier Classic will take place during the week following the Quicken Loans National. Woods played the Greenbrier Classic two years ago and reportedly would have played last year if he hadn’t been injured, but GolfChannel.com has learned that he has yet to commit to that event.