Tiger Woods to Play Masters Next Month

Golfer will return to sport at Augusta

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Tiger Woods will make his return to golf in the upcoming Masters.

    Tiger Woods  will make his return to pro golf next month at the Masters, where he'll compete to wear the legendary course's famous green jacket..

    The golf superstar released a statement announcing his intention to play at Augusta National, where the tournament begins April 8. Woods last played Nov. 15, winning the Australian Masters. That was just weeks before his personal life exploded with a burst of tawdry revelations of extramarital affairs.

    "The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect," Woods said in the statement. "After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I'm ready to start my season at Augusta."

    Woods is being represented by sports PR man Ari Fleischer, who was President George W. Bush's press secretary from January 2001 to July 2003.

    Woods dropped out of sight in the aftermath of a wee-hours car crash outside his mansion near Orlando on Thanksgiving night. In the weeks that followed, a parade of women came forward to say they had affairs with the married father of two. Two weeks ago, Woods made a carefully orchestrated live appearance in which he apologized for his womanizing and said he'd been getting treatment for an unspecified problem.

     "I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy and I am continuing my treatment," Woods said in Tuesday's statement. Although I'm returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life."

    Woods is back at his home in Florida, where he has been seen practicing with longtime coach Hank Haney.

    Returning to the classic tournament held at the Augusta national Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., will put Woods on the sports biggest stage, in front of its most knowledgeable fans. The storied club, founded by Bobby Jones on a former plantation, hosts the Masters every year. The three other major American tournaments rotate courses each year.

    The Masters is famous for awarding the winner a green jacket bearing the club's logo. In addition to the jacket, the tourney's winner gets the right to play in all major tournements for the year.

    Members of the club include Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jack Welch and T. Boone Pickens.

    Six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus said last week that if Woods did return to the Masters and attend the annual Champions Dinner, it would not be any different than years past.

    "Nah. It's the Champions Dinner," Nicklaus said. "His personal life is his personal life. As a golfer he's sensational and a great athlete. He'll figure out his own problems."