Tiger Woods will return to play in the Masters, he said in a statement today. It will be Woods' first golf tournament and second public appearance since his post-Thanksgiving car crash and ensuing sex scandal.
In a statement Woods said, "The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I'm ready to start my season at Augusta." He also said he has "undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy," but "I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life." (Scroll down for full statement.)
The world's preeminent golfer has not played since he won the Australian Masters on November 15, 2009. Woods was not seen for months until Getty captured pictures of him running in mid-February, several days before his public apology.
The 2010 Masters run from April 8-11 in Augusta, Ga. The sports betting website Bodog has placed Woods' odds of winning at 3:1.
Woods' full statement:
"The Masters is where I won my first major, and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I'm ready to start my season at Augusta.
The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it's been awhile since I last played.
I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy, and I am continuing my treatment. 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.