NEW YORK • Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his long-awaited comeback to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas next month.
The 40-year-old American has not played since August last year and three weeks ago pulled out of the Safeway Open, claiming "my game is vulnerable and it's not where it needs to be".
But, in a press release on Tuesday, Woods, who has plummeted to No. 831 in the world rankings, said he would be back to play on Dec 2.
"I am excited to make my return at the Hero World Challenge at Albany and play in this terrific tournament," he said in the statement.
Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth are also included in the 18-player field. But world No. 1 Jason Day, who withdrew from his last two tournaments because of a back injury, is missing, and so is world No. 2 Rory McIlroy.
The tournament, which is operated by Woods' charitable foundation, includes the defending champion, the reigning Major winners, two tournament exemptions and the top players available from the world rankings on Sept 26.
Woods - who underwent surgical procedures in September last year and again a month later due to ongoing back problems - and fellow American Zach Johnson are this year's exemptions.
"This is our 18th year, and every year we put together a top field that showcases the best golfers from the previous season," Woods said. "Albany is an outstanding setting, and I can't thank Hero MotoCorp enough for their support of the tournament and my foundation."
Woods, who was ranked No. 1 in the world for a record 683 weeks, is four Major championship victories short of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18.
Last month, Woods told American television talk show host Charlie Rose that he was still chasing more Major titles.
"Do you believe you'll get 18 Majors?" Rose asked.
"To be honest with you, no," Woods replied.
"You don't? You've accepted that?" Rose asked. "I've accepted I'm going to get more," Woods responded.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS