NEW YORK: Tiger Woods, the 14-time major champion sidelined by back injury for the past 14 months, says he is practicing well and will return to competitive golf in December.
Woods, appearing Thursday night on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” said he will launch his latest comeback at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on December 1-4.
“I’ll be there,” Woods said. “I’m playing.”
The 18-player event hosted by Woods is owned by his charity foundation. Woods made a similar return from injury at the event in 2014 when it was played in Orlando, Florida.
Woods had said last month he would make his return at last week’s US PGA Safeway Open in Napa, California, but later withdrew from the event and the Turkish Airlines Open next month, saying his game was not yet ready for competition.
Woods, a former world number one who has plunged to 802nd in the rankings while idled, told Colbert is game is improving well.
“I’m not quite there, where I feel like I can shoot 63s and 64s in tournaments,” Woods said. “I’m shooting the low rounds at home. But I just don’t quite feel as quite ready to shoot those type scores under tournament conditions.”
Woods, who turns 41 in December, underwent back surgery twice last year.
Woods has won 79 US PGA titles, three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record, and is four shy of the record 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus. Woods said on the Charlie Rose show earlier this week that he intended to pass Nicklaus’ total.
Earlier this month, Woods was a vice captain for the triumphant US Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine. He has been named an assistant captain to Steve Stricker for next year’s Presidents Cup.