Tiger Woods has surprisingly announced he will make a competitive return to the golf course this week at the Quicken Loans National having recovered from surgery undertaken to heal a pinched nerve in his back, according to reports in the U.S.
The 14-time major winner announced on his Facebook page last week that he had began to hit full shots again and that it was time he got back out on the course, after the American missed both the Masters in April and last week's US Open at Pinehurst.
It will be only Woods' fourth start on the PGA Tour this season, but having undergone surgery on such a temperamental part of the body, his return to competition has come quicker than expected.
"After a lot of therapy I have recovered well and will be supporting my foundation next week," Woods said Friday on Facebook.
"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."
The former world number one, overhauled at the top of the world rankings by Adam Scott during his lay off, has taken many by surprise with his announcement. Only last month, Woods announced he would be taking rehab slowly having rushed himself back from previous injuries.
In 2008, he famously won the US Open at Torrey Pines in an 18-hole playoff despite suffering from a cruciate knee ligament injury that required reconstructive surgery, before returning just six months later.
Now he must do everything to ensure his back is fit and ready for 72 holes of competitive PGA Tour golf at Congressional Country Club in Maryland.
With Woods returning so unexpectedly, the 38-year-old now has time to turn a season that looked like a lost cause, into yet another success story.
There are still two major championships left to contest - the Open and the US PGA - while he could also play himself into the top 50 of the FedEx Cup, securing his place in the season-ending playoffs in the process.
And that will leave the door open for a spot on Tom Watson's US Ryder Cup team for Gleneagles in September, where America will look to end Europe's four-year winning streak by securing just their second win this millennium.
Watson has already come out and said he will give Woods a wildcard, although given his fractured relationship with the continental match up, the world number four may well think long and hard about playing given his current health situation as he once again begins to his quest to topple Jack Nicklaus' record major haul.
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