Golf: Tiger eyes return to Phoenix after 14 years - report

Tiger Woods (above, in a file photo) is looking to play later this month at the PGA Phoenix Open, an event the former world No. 1 has skipped since 2001, Golf magazine's website reported on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP
Tiger Woods (above, in a file photo) is looking to play later this month at the PGA Phoenix Open, an event the former world No. 1 has skipped since 2001, Golf magazine's website reported on Wednesday. -- PHOTO: AFP

PHOENIX (AFP) - Tiger Woods is looking to play later this month at the PGA Phoenix Open, an event the former world No. 1 has skipped since 2001, Golf magazine's website reported on Wednesday.

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.

Citing unnamed sources, the report said Woods has reserved a courtesy car for the event and booked rooms at a hotel in the area.

Tournament officials say Woods is not on the confirmed players list and the 14-time major winner, chasing the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus, has not announced any of his planned schedule for the year.

Last month, Woods made his return from a four-month layoff due to a back injury at the Hero World Challenge in Florida and said he was planning some different events than his usual schedule for this year, but would not be specific about his intentions.

The event in Scottsdale finishes on Feb 1, just ahead of the National Football League's Super Bowl championship spectacle in another nearby Phoenix suburb, Glendale.

Woods would have until Jan 23, the Friday before the start of the event, to commit to the tournament, known for its boisterous crowds and an epic scene at the par-3 16th hole with fans cheering and yelling rather than the usual quiet decorum found at golf events.

Woods famously delighted the crowd with an ace at the 16th in 1997.

The US PGA Tour stop the week after Phoenix is at Torrey Pines, where Woods has won eight times and where he collected his most recent major title at the 2008 US Open.