Ten months after his right leg was badly injured in a car accident, Tiger Woods returns to competition next week with 12-year-old son Charlie in the PNC Championship.
“Although it has been a long and challenging year, I am very pleased to end it by competing in the PNC Championship with my son Charlie,” Woods tweeted. “I play like a dad and I am very happy and proud.”
It will be his first competition, even in a tournament that Woods described last week as a kind of “giggle” he can play since he and his son finished seventh last year in an unofficial tournament involving family members.
The tournament was the venue for Woods, and he fueled speculation that he could play on December 18-19 at the Ritz Carlton Orlando Golf Club when he is full of power with a driver on Saturday and Sunday during his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
“We’ve been in touch with Tiger and his team for some time now and are delighted that he has now decided to return to competitive golf at the PNC,” said Alistair Johnston of IMG, executive chairman of the event.
On February 23, Woods was on his way to Los Angeles for a television shoot when police said he was driving 85 mph on a winding coastal country road. The SUV punched through the middle and crashed down the hill.
Doctors said he broke the tibia and fibula of his right leg in several places. They were stabilized by a shank in the tibia. A combination of screws and pins was used to stabilize additional ankle and foot injuries.
Woods said last week that amputation was being considered. He refused to discuss the details of the crash, saying only that “you can read about all this in the police report.”
The PNC was previously called the Father and Son Challenge until it changed its name to include more family members. For the first time in 24 years, incumbent # 1 player Nelly Korda will play with her father, Peter, the former Australian Open tennis champion.
READ MORE: Los Angeles Sheriff Will Reveal Cause Of Tiger Woods Accident
Lee Trevino is playing again and has never missed a tournament since it started in 1995. Justin Thomas returns as the reigning champion alongside his father, Mike, a longtime PGA pro.
However, it all boils down to Woods being inside the ropes, striking punches that count towards points. A year ago, this was his last event before the fifth back surgery, not as serious as the previous ones. Towards the end of the second round, he was unable to land a few tees because his son was playing from the forward and was pushing for more than Woods could have hit him.
Fans are returning to the course in Florida and it is already close to a sale as organizers are restricting ticket sales to keep the event intimate.
The next question will be when Woods, who shares the PGA Tour’s career record of 82 wins, will play in the official tournament.
He said last week that it’s still a long way off, dispelling hopes of a comeback, suggesting that his leg would not allow him to exercise so much, he was resigned to it and “I have climbed enough times.” He also said that he has yet to decide whether or not to fully return from his recent injuries.
“I’ll play here or there, play a little and giggle, I can do something like that,” he said. “Seeing some of my pictures fall from the sky much shorter than before is a little eye-opening, but at least I can do it again. For a while, it didn’t look like I was going to do it. Now I can play golf.
“So at what level? I do not know what.”
The first level is with his son by his side in a 36-hole competition where he doesn’t have to hit every shot and can ride a cart. But the score will count, which hasn’t happened since the PNC Championship last year.