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Tiger to play first PGA event since lockdown next week

Thursday July 09 2020
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Tiger Woods plays his shot from the 16th tee during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South on January 25, 2020 in San Diego, California. PHOTO | DONALD MIRALLE | AFP

By AFP

MIAMI

Reigning Masters champion Tiger Woods, a 15-time major winner, said Thursday he will play his first US PGA Tour event since February at next week's Jack Nicklaus-hosted Memorial Tournament.

Woods will attempt to capture a record 83rd career US PGA title after having matched Sam Snead's all-time mark by winning last October's Zozo Championship in Japan.

"I'm looking forward to playing in the @MemorialGolf next week," Woods tweeted.

"I've missed going out and competing with the guys and can't wait to get back out there."

Spectators will not be allowed at the tournament because of tightened Covid-19 restrictions in Ohio. The Memorial was to have been the first PGA event to allow limited numbers of fans back since the coronavirus pandemic shutdown began in March.

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Woods has won a record five Memorial titles, lifting the trophy in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2009 and 2012. But he also fired a humbling career-worst 85 in the third round in 2015.

The 44-year-old US legend played and captained the triumphant US team in last December's Presidents Cup in Australia but has made only two prior starts this year, sharing ninth at Torrey Pines in January and placing 68th at Riviera in February in his first chances to surpass Snead on the all-time win list.

Woods, ranked 14th, dropped out of the WGC Mexico and Players Championship citing back issues before the virus shutdown but looked fit in May in a high-profile return victory at the Champions for Charity exhibition match also featuring Phil Mickelson and NFL stars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

With Woods having played a limited schedule in recent seasons, the Memorial start could be his key tuneup for the PGA Championship, set for Harding Park in San Francisco from August 6-9.

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