NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former world number one Tiger Woods will make his competitive comeback at next month’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, an event which he hosts, after being sidelined for more than a year.
“I am excited to make my return at the Hero World Challenge,” the 14-times major winner said in a news release on Tuesday.
The Tiger Woods Foundation is a charitable beneficiary of the Dec. 1-4 tournament, which will be held for a second year in a row at Albany Golf Club in New Providence.
The 40-year-old American has been sidelined for 15 months due to back-related issues.
Woods had initially planned to return at last month’s PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, California but he withdrew three days before the opening round, saying his game was not sharp enough.
“After a lot of soul searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA Tour,” Woods said at the time. “My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.”
Woods has not played on the PGA Tour since August 2015, having undergone surgeries in September and again in October of that year due to ongoing back problems.
The greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time, he has not won a tournament anywhere since 2013 and his title drought in the major championships dates back to 2008.
Woods will make his return to competition in elite company at the Hero World Challenge where a high-quality but limited field of 18 players will vie for the title.
Long-hitting American Dustin Johnson, the U.S. Open champion, and British Open winner Henrik Stenson of Sweden head a powerful line-up at Albany Golf Club that includes eight of the world’s top 13 players.
“Every year we put together a top field that showcases the best golfers from the previous season,” said Woods.
Among the other players scheduled to tee it up at the event are American world number five Jordan Spieth, sixth-ranked Japanese Hideki Matsuyama and ninth-ranked American Bubba Watson, who will be defending the title.
(Writing by Tony Jimenez in London and Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar)