Tiger to return in Phoenix

The 39-year-old will tee up at TPC Scottsdale at the end of this month in the best-attended tournament on the PGA Tour schedule, with around 500,000 spectators likely to pass through the gates over the week.

Woods has not played the event since 2001 as he usually takes January off before heading to his beloved Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open, where he is a seven-time champion.

But after missing most of the 2014 campaign due to a back problem that required surgery, Woods had hinted that he would alter his early-season schedule in a bid to be as “tournament-sharp” as possible ahead of the Masters in April.

“It will be great to return to Phoenix,” said Woods, who made only seven starts on the PGA Tour last season and finished last of the 18-man field in his Hero World Challenge in Florida last month.

“The crowds are amazing and always enthusiastic, and the 16th hole is pretty unique in golf. Torrey is a very important place to me. My pop took me there when I was younger, and I have a lot of special memories of watching the TOUR play there when I was growing up.”

Woods made an instant impression on the Phoenix Open on his debut in 1997, when he sent the galleries wild with a hole-in-one at the short 16th – one of the most raucous holes in the golfing world.

He finished third in 1999 and fifth two years later, and he now joins a high-profile field for this year’s event which includes long-time rival Phil Mickelson and rising star Jordan Spieth.

But it is at Torrey Pines in California where he has had unprecedented success with his seven wins, as well as his famous play-off victory over Rocco Mediate in the 2008 US Open – his last major win.

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