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Tiger Woods' return includes Torrey Pines, Rivera

Tiger Woods is playing twice in California over the next six weeks as he begins another comeback on the PGA Tour from back surgery.

Woods announced Thursday that he will play the Farmers Insurance Open on Jan. 25 at Torrey Pines, the San Diego course where he has won eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open, his 14th and most recent major.

He also says he will play the Genesis Open at Riviera in Los Angeles that starts Feb. 15. Riviera is where Woods played his first PGA event as a 16-year-old amateur. He last played there in 2006, though it now is back in play because the Tiger Woods Foundation runs the tournament.

"I'm very excited to be back at Riviera," Woods, 42, said. "To be able to play in an event that I used to come to as an amateur, as a junior and now as the tournament host, that is on one of the most historic sites in all of golf, it's a dream come true."

The schedule is similar to the one last year when Woods was returning from back surgery. It just didn't last long.

He played in the Bahamas against an 18-man field with no cut, said he was feeling good about his health and his game, then resumed a PGA Tour schedule at Torrey Pines. But he missed the 36-hole cut for the first time in San Diego, flew to Dubai and withdrew because of back spasms after opening with 77.

Two months later, Woods had fusion surgery on his lower back — his fourth back surgery in three years — and was out the rest of the year until he returned at the Hero World Challenge on Nov. 30 in the Bahamas and tied for ninth, 10 shots out of the lead.

Woods did not mention any other events he might play. He's No. 656 in the world ranking and not eligible for the two World Golf Championships in March, key tournaments leading into the Masters. That might be good news for the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, which is March 8-11. Woods has never played the tournament, but it already has attracted Rory McIlroy to this year's field.

PGA: Coming off his best year, Marc Leishman got off to an ideal start in 2018 with eight birdies en route to 6-under 67 for a one-shot lead in the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii. Leishman ran off four straight birdies around the turn. He was one shot ahead of Brian Harman and Jhonattan Vegas. Rickie Fowler overcame double bogey on No. 13 with two straight birdies and an eagle on the final hole. He shot 69, along with Dustin Johnson and Si Woo Kim in the 34-player field limited to 2017 winners on tour.

Tiger Woods' return includes Torrey Pines, Rivera 01/04/18 [Last modified: Thursday, January 4, 2018 11:16pm]
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