Woods to play in next week's Masters

Fri Apr 3, 2015 5:47pm EDT
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By Andrew Both

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods ended weeks of speculation on Friday when he announced he will play in next week's Masters golf tournament at Augusta National.

Hobbled by back problems and poor play this year, Woods made the decision to go for his 15th major title after his second visit of the week to the famed Georgia course.

The Masters, the first major of the year, begins on Thursday and will end a two-month absence from tournament play for the former world number one.

"I'm playing in the Masters," said Woods on his website, marking his return to the tournament he has won four times.

"It's obviously very important to me and I want to be there. I've worked a lot on my game and I'm looking forward to competing," said Woods, who missed last year's event after being advised by doctors to have a microdiscectomy to repair a pinched nerve in his back.

The lure of Augusta has obviously proved irresistible to the 39-year-old, who has been plagued by a woeful short game over recent months.

"I am excited to get to Augusta and I appreciate everyone's support," he said.

Woods, who is still adapting to the fifth swing change of his career, this time with new consultant Chris Como, has dropped to 104th in the world rankings and bookmakers consider him a longshot to win the Masters.   Continued...

Feb 5, 2015; La Jolla, CA, USA; Tiger Woods hits his drive on the 12th during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament at Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course - South Co. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports