Tiger Woods showed he could walk four days while caddying for his son. Now he has decided he is fit enough to try to play again.
Woods announced on social media on Saturday that he will be playing in the 72-hole Hero World Challenge, which starts on November 30 at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.
It will be his first time competing since he withdrew before the third round at the Masters after battling the wind and cold while playing on his injured right leg.
His TGR company announced his decision to take a sponsor exemption. The 20-man field is for the top 50 in the world rankings, although the tournament's host -- Woods himself -- is exempt.
Woods had said last week, when discussing his ownership of a team in the tech-driven TGL league, that his right ankle is pain-free after being fused in a surgery in April following the Masters.
"My ankle is fine. Where they fused my ankle, I have absolutely zero issue whatsoever," Woods said. "That pain is completely gone. It's the other areas that have been compensated for."
He compared it with when he had fusion surgery on his lower back. He said the L5 and S1 vertebrae were fine.
"But all the surrounding areas is where I had all my problems and I still do," he said. "So you fix one, others have to become more hypermobile to get around it, and it can lead to some issues."
Woods recently caddied for his son, Charlie, at the Notah Begay III Junior Golf Championship, sparking speculation that he was close to playing again.
Woods will be playing the Hero World Challenge for the first time since 2019. The holiday event was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and then he badly damaged his right leg in a February 2021 car crash outside of Los Angeles that threatened to end his career.
He returned a year later at the Masters and made the cut, and played in two more majors, including what figures to be his final appearance at St Andrews in the British Open.
He has said his tournament play would be limited, and he played only the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, which he hosts, and the Masters this year before having surgery on his ankle.
Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in the fall of 2019, the year he won the Masters for his 15th major.
Australian Associated Press