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He's (nearly) back! Tiger Woods targets October return after long injury layoff

The former world number one is eyeing a return to competitive action 14 months after his last tournament.

Former world number one Tiger Woods.
Former world number one Tiger Woods.

TIGER WOODS SAID Wednesday he hopes to return to competitive golf next month at a tournament in California, but the 14-time major champion warned his much-anticipated return would depend on his continued recovery.

“My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do,” the 40-year-old Woods, who has not played competitively since August 2015, said in a statement.

“Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go,” said Woods, who has been recuperating from back surgery since his last tournament.

The golf superstar said he is hoping to return to competition on 13-16 October at the Safeway Open in Napa, California. That event is the first of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.

He then hopes to travel to Antalya for the Turkish Airlines Open in November and the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December that benefits the TigerWoods Foundation.

“Hoping to play in Napa, Turkey, and Hero in the Bahamas. Can’t wait to compete again,” Woods tweeted.

He also plans to take part in his foundation’s Tiger Woods Invitational on 10-11 October in California before his tour return.

“It could be a fun fall. It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn’t rush it,” he said.

“It was great spending time with my children Sam and Charlie, and also working on a lot of projects including golf-course design, the upcoming 20th anniversary of my foundation and my book about the 1997 Masters. But I missed competing.”

Woods has not won a major since the 2008 US Open after battling a number of knee, leg and back injuries. At times he was unable to even hit the ball.

He has won 79 US PGA events, three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record, and his major total is four shy of the all-time record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus.

© AFP 2016

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