It's official: Woods to return at Safeway Open

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Tiger Woods will return next week, the PGA Tour announced on Friday.

Woods had declared his intention to play in the Safeway Open on Sept. 7, but that decision wasn’t official until Woods formally committed to the tournament. The Tour released a statement hours before the 5 p.m. ET deadline to enter, saying Woods would participate in the 2016-17 season-opening event in Napa, Calif.

In his earlier update to his website, Woods added that he “hopes” to play in the European Tour’s Turkish Airlines Open, held Nov. 3-6, as well as the Dec. 1-4 Hero World Challenge. But he also hedged his bets, noting that his participation would be contingent upon the progress of his physical recovery.

“My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do,” Woods wrote. “Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.”

Woods has not played competitively since the 2015 Wyndham Championship, where he tied for 10th place. He announced weeks later that he had undergone the first of what would be two back surgeries, and Woods has not played a PGA Tour event in the 14 months since.

While he was visible last week at the Ryder Cup, where he served as an assistant captain on the victorious U.S. squad, Woods gave no indication regarding the state of his game or his plans for the season opener.

But Friday’s commitment indicates that Woods, who will turn 41 in December, is ready to return to life inside the ropes. This will mark his first appearance at Silverado Resort & Spa, as his only other tournament start came in 2011 when it was held at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif.

Before teeing it up at Silverado, Woods is expected to participate in the Tiger Woods Invitational Oct. 10-11 on the nearby Monterey Peninsula. After that, Woods will head north to Napa to kick-start a return that the golf world has anxiously anticipated for more than a year.

Editor's note: Golf Channel will air all four rounds of the Safeway Open, beginning Thursday at 5 p.m. ET.