Tiger Woods announces planned return to golf at 2016 Safeway Open

Tiger Woods is back.


That phrase is something many fans have craved for months. Now, it’s a reality.


Woods, 40, announced on Wednesday that he hopes to make his long-awaited return to golf at the 2016 Safeway Open, Oct. 13-16, at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif.


“My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do,” Woods said on tigerwoods.com. “Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.”


Regardless, the likely re-emergence will end Woods’ long absence from the game – which will have reached nearly 14 months by the time the Safeway Open comes around.


The 14-time major champion had been sidelined from competitive golf after undergoing two back procedures in the fall. His last tournament came in August 2015 at the Wyndham Championship, where he finished in a tie for 10th.


Woods also intends to compete in the Turkish Airlines Open on Nov. 3-6 in Antalya, Turkey, and at the Hero World Challenge on Dec. 1-4 at Albany in the Bahamas. The first appearance by Woods will be at the Tiger Woods Invitational, which benefits his foundation, on Oct. 10-11 on the Monterey Peninsula, before the Safeway Open.


“I’m looking forward to going to California for my foundation event and Safeway. I’m also excited to return to Turkey and Albany. 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. 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. I want to thank all the fans for their kindness and concern. I’ve been a pro about 20 years, and their support has never waned.”


• A timeline of Tiger Woods’ injury history


Now, though, he’s back.


Woods’ announcement ends the long period of speculation about when he would return.


Now at 79 PGA Tour victories, Woods last won on the circuit at the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. His T-10 two years later at Wyndham was just his second top 10 since that victory.


Regardless, you can now say it: he’s back.


Tiger Woods