Tiger Woods may play Phoenix Open

ByBob Harig ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tiger Woods is considering a return to the Phoenix Open, according to a published report, while his agent said Wednesday that no decision has been made for where Woods will play his first tournament of the new year.

Golf.com reported that Woods is making plans to play in the event called the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which takes place Jan. 29-Feb. 1 in Scottsdale, by making courtesy car arrangements and hotel plans.Woods last played in this event in 2001.

Tournament officials said there has been no official commitment from Woods, which is not required until the Friday before tournament week, Jan. 23.

"There is no commitment," Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, said in a text message. "When we have the early schedule finalized, we will advise."

There has been considerable speculation about where Woods will make his 2015 debut following his worst season as a pro in which he played just nine times and finished only four tournaments because of back issues and subsequent surgery.

Woods tied for last in December at his annual Hero World Challenge event, his first competition in four months, since missing the cut at the PGA Championship in August. He is expected to play next month in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times as a pro.

Phoenix has the largest galleries on the PGA Tour, typically attracting weekly crowds in excess of 500,000 spectators for the week. The par-3 16th hole, where Woods made a hole-in-one in 1997, is particularly raucous, and the tournament enjoys its party atmosphere.

Adding to the event is that the Super Bowl is in town the same week, to be played Feb. 1.

"We're hearing the rumors, but he hasn't committed," said Rob Myers, a spokesman for the Thunderbirds organization, which runs the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Woods' 1997 hole-in-one at the 16th hole remains etched in tournament lore, given the size of the stage.

He also had a famous ruling at the 1999 event in which spectators were allowed to remove a huge boulder that was deemed to be a loose impediment. That same year, a spectator who was heckling Woods was tackled by tournament security and found to be in possession of a gun. Woods finished third that year.

Two years later, Woods tied for fifth, but during the tournament, a spectator threw an orange onto the green while he was putting. He hasn't returned since.

Although Woods has rarely returned to tournaments he stopped playing, he did say last month that he was looking at playing some different tournaments this year.

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