14-Time Major Champion Plans To 'Play Myself Back Into Competitive Shape'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — He missed the Masters and the U.S. Open, but it looks like Tiger Woods will compete in the second half of the grand slam tournament schedule.

Speaking on his Facebook page on Friday, Woods wrote that he will make his return to the PGA Tour next week at the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Maryland.

“After a lot of therapy I have recovered well and will be supporting my foundation next week at the Quicken Loans National,” Woods wrote on the social media site. “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, 38, had microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in his back in March. The 14-time major champion hasn’t won a tournament this year, and 2011 was the last time he went a full calendar year without a win.

Woods’ participation the rest of the season looked bleak after he announced he would miss the U.S. Open, so Friday’s news, just a week after the Open, came as a huge surprise to many, but it couldn’t come soon enough for the Quicken Loans National.

“We’re thrilled, obviously,” said Mike Antolini, the tournament director and vice president of championships for the Tiger Woods Foundation. “Anytime you get that call and Tiger is in your field, it’s really the best news you can get. The fact he’s a two-time champion and the tournament hosts, we’re very excited for the fans.”

He said he expected a spike in ticket sales with Friday’s announcement.

The strength of Quicken Loans National field has suffered in recent years as more Europeans moved into the top 20 in the world, and they headed across the Atlantic Ocean as the European Tour headed places like Ireland, France and Scotland leading up to the British Open.

Adam Scott, who has replaced Woods at No. 1 in the world while he has been out, is not planning to return to Congressional this year.

“To be honest, we were prepared regardless for a good event,” Antolini said. “Our ticket sales, we think they’re going to be increased on this news now.”

The British Open, a tournament Woods has won three times, will be held from July 16-20 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in England. Ironically, the last time Woods won the Claret Jug was at Royal Liverpool in 2006 when he beat Chris DeMarco by two shots.

Woods has won the PGA Championship four times, last doing so at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., in 2007. This year’s tournament will be held at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., from Aug. 7-10.

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