January 9, 2015 / 4:03 PM / 4 years ago

Woods 'ready to go,' will make season debut in Phoenix

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods will make his season debut at this month’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, a tournament he has not played in 14 years, the former world number one said on Friday.

Tiger Woods of the U.S. hits from a sand trap on the 12th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, August 8, 2014. REUTERS/John Sommers II

Woods, who was limited to nine tournaments last year due to back issues, also said he will play the following week’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California.

The Phoenix Open, famous for its massive galleries and an amphitheatre par-three 16th that is the center of the event’s party atmosphere, will mark Woods’s first event since finishing tied for last at the 18-player Hero World Challenge last month.

“It will be great to return to Phoenix,” Woods said in a statement on his website. “The crowds are amazing and always enthusiastic, and the 16th hole is pretty unique in golf.

“Torrey is a very important place to me. My pop took me there when I was younger, and I have a lot of special memories of watching the tour play there when I was growing up.”

In three previous starts at Phoenix, Woods cracked the top five twice, finishing third in 1999 and tied for fifth in 2001. In 1997, he electrified the huge crowds surrounding the par-3 16th hole by making a hole-in-one.

Woods is very familiar with Torrey Pines, where he grew up playing junior golf, and he has won the tournament seven times, most recently in 2013.

The last of his 14 majors came in the 2008 U.S. Open on the South Course at Torrey Pines where he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff.

“Starting my year off at Phoenix & Torrey back-to-back weeks. I’m ready to go. Should be a lot of fun,” Woods said on Twitter.

The Phoenix Open will be held Jan. 29-Feb. 1 at the TPC Scottsdale and the Farmers Insurance Open will be Feb. 5-8.

Reporting by Frank Pingue; editing by Justin Palmer

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