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Tiger Woods qualifies for 1st WGC of year

Tiger Woods at 2020 PGA Championship
Tiger Woods is eligible via the world ranking to play in next week’s WGC at The Concession, the first World Golf Championships event of the year, but will he?

But will Woods, who is recovering from a 5th back surgery, return to play next week at The Concession Golf Club in Florida?

Tiger Woods dropped one spot in the Official World Golf Ranking released Monday, but he nonetheless qualified for something that he hasn’t done in nearly two years: playing in a World Golf Championships event.

The question, which Woods left unanswered Monday night: Will he play?

Woods, who ranks 48th in the world order, qualifies as a top-50 player for the first WGC tournament of the year, next week in Bradenton, Fla. Woods hasn’t competed in one of the four high-profile WGC events since early 2019, when he lost in the quarterfinals of the WGC Match Play.

Woods has not disclosed when he intends to return to competition. He has not competed in an official PGA Tour event since Nov. 15, when he tied for 38th in the Masters.

Shortly after playing with his son, Charlie, in the PNC Championship team exhibition in late December, Woods disclosed that he underwent a fifth back surgery.

Woods, 45, remains tied with the late Sam Snead for the most career victories on the PGA Tour, at 82. Woods ranked No. 1 in the world for a record 683 weeks spanning 1997-2014.

Should Woods not commit by Friday’s deadline to compete in the WGC at The Concession on Feb. 25-28, his next potential start would be the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 4-7 at Bay Hill in Orlando. Woods has won eight times at Bay Hill.

Concession, a 2006 Jack Nicklaus Signature design done in concert with Tony Jacklin, is a tribute to Nicklaus’ famous conceded putt to Jacklin in the final singles match of the 1969 Ryder Cup, assuring a halved match and a team tie as the U.S. retained the cup.

The club landed the WGC event when mexico ci because of travel restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

After Bay Hill, the rest of the Florida Swing could offer a potential tuneup for Woods ahead of the Masters on April 8-11. The PGA Tour schedule includes Florida stops for the Players Championship on March 11-14 and the Honda Classic on March 18-21, not far from Woods’ home in Jupiter. After Florida, the Tour heads to Texas for two weeks before the Masters.

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