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Tiger Woods to return to golf at the Masters


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Tiger Woods will make his much-anticipated return to competitive golf at the Masters, starting on 8 April.

The world number one's last tournament appearance was on 15 November - when he won the Australian Masters.

Less than a fortnight later he crashed his car outside his Florida home, an incident that led to revelations about his private life and a break from golf.

"As a professional, I think Augusta's where I need to be, even though it's a while since I last played," he said.

Following the storm of publicity about his personal conduct at the end of last year, Woods made his first public appearance in February to apologise for his actions.

The 34-year-old revealed he had been having ongoing therapy for his extra-marital affairs, but added he did not yet know when he would be ready to return to competitive golf.

There had been suggestions he could make a comeback at either the Tavistock Cup tournament in Florida on 22/23 March or the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which starts on 25 March, but instead he has announced it will be at the Masters, the year's first major.

Woods has won four times at Augusta National, including the first of his 14 major titles in 1997 when he won by a record 12 shots as a 21-year-old to become the first black player to win a major.

"I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy and I am continuing my treatment," Woods added.

"Although I'm returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life. When I finally got into a position to think about competitive golf again, it became apparent to me that the Masters would be the earliest I could play.

"I called both Joe Lewis and Arnold Palmer and expressed my regrets for not attending the Tavistock Cup and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

"I again want to thank them both for their support and their understanding. Those are fantastic tournaments and I look forward to competing in them again.

"I would also like to thank the Augusta National members and staff for their support. I have deep appreciation for everything that they do to create a wonderful event for the benefit of the game."

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said in a separate statement: "We support Tiger's decision to return to competitive golf beginning at this year's Masters tournament.

"Additionally, we support and encourage his stated commitment to continue the significant work required to rebuild his personal and professional life."

Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour, added: "He has invested a lot of time taking steps, both in his personal and professional life, in order to prepare for his return. We all wish him and his family the best as he rejoins the Tour."

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