PHOENIX (AFP) – Tiger Woods is looking to play later this month at the PGA Phoenix Open, an event the former world number one has skipped since 2001, Woods confirmed on his website on Friday.
“It will be great to return to Phoenix,” the 14-time major champion said in an article posted on tigerwoods.com, which also confirmed that after playing in Phoenix from January 29 to February 1 he would play in the Farmers Insurance Open on February 5-8 at Torrey Pines.
“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 has not played in the tournament, known for rowdy fans and loud cheers, since a spectator tossed an orange onto a green while he was putting. Woods was heckled by a spectator in 1999 who was later found to have a gun at the time.
The tournament’s par-3 16th hole offers epic scenes unusual in golf of fans cheering and yelling as if they were at a ball game.
Woods famously delighted the crowd with an ace at the 16th in 1997.
Woods, chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, returned last month from a four-month layoff due to a back injury at the Hero World Challenge in Florida.
He had said he planned a 2015 schedule somewhat different from his usual campaign.
The event in Scottsdale finishes on February 1, just ahead of the National Football League’s Super Bowl championship spectacle in another nearby Phoenix suburb, Glendale.
At Torrey Pines near La Jolla, California, Woods will be returning to a course where he has won eight times, and where he collected his most recent major title at the 2008 US Open.
Woods, who recently celebrated his 39th birthday, is starting his 20th year on the PGA TOUR. He has amassed 79 career victories, second only to Sam Snead’s 82 on the all-time list.