(Reuters) – Former world number one Tiger Woods said he would compete in the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic next month as he charts his comeback from injury.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing in Dubai and it’s fantastic to see how the city has grown phenomenally from when I first started playing there,” Woods said on the event website (www.dubaidesertclassic.com) on Thursday.Woods, sidelined by back pain for the past 15 months, will launch his official comeback at the Jan. 26-29 Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in southern California, the PGA Tour event announced on Wednesday.
The Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club is the longest-running European Tour event in the region and takes place from Feb. 2-5.
Woods has also committed to play the Feb. 16-19 Genesis Open at Riviera, California, and his hometown tournament, the Honda Classic in south Florida, the following week as he leads up to the Masters in Augusta in April.
He is expected to play the March 16-19 Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Florida, an event he has won a record eight times.
The 41-year-old American has not played an official money event since Aug. 2015 and pulled out of a planned return at the first event of the 2016-17 season in northern California in October.
He said then that his game was not ready but the 14-times major champion subsequently made his comeback at the Hero World Challenge, an unofficial PGA Tour event, in the Bahamas in December where he finished 15th in an 18-man field.
Woods will be making his eighth appearance in Dubai, where he has won twice and is 92-under par for the 28 rounds he has played there since 2001.
He joins world number two Rory McIlroy, Sweden’s British Open champion Henrik Stenson and Masters winner Danny Willett among leading players at an event dubbed the ‘Major of the Middle East’.
“It was great winning in Dubai in 2006 and 2008. When you win in Dubai, you know you’ve beaten an outstanding field,” said Woods.