A decision on whether Tiger Woods can return to competition next week at Congressional Country Club should come by the end of the week, and there remains a chance the 14-time major winner will play for the first time in more than three months.
Woods, who sat out both the Masters and the U.S. Open after back surgery, has been able to make full swings, according to his agent, Mark Steinberg.
“Tiger is progressing as each day passes,” Steinberg said in an e-mail Wednesday. “He is feeling good, but no decision yet on a return date.”
Woods, 38, hosts the Quicken Loans National — formerly the AT&T National — and the event is both staged by and benefits his foundation. Injuries, though, have prevented him from playing in several of the events since the tournament’s inception in 2007. He sat out 2008 after reconstructive knee surgery, missed 2011 with an Achilles’ injury and missed last year’s event with an elbow problem that surfaced at the U.S. Open.
Woods last played March 9 in the Cadillac Championship at Doral. He underwent a procedure called a microdiscectomy on his back on March 31, and the healing process — initially — is complete rest. He appeared at Congressional, the Bethesda club that has hosted Woods’s tour event five times, last month and said he hadn’t yet taken full swings.
The Golf Channel first reported that Woods was hitting drivers and working through his full bag.
“I don’t know when I come back and start ramping it up how far am I away from being explosive,” Woods said in May. “Do I still have that capability of hitting the ball like that? But once I start feeling like that, I don’t think it would take more than a couple weeks to where I can get out there and feel like I can compete. Now, how rusty am I going to be? The more time you give me, I think the better I’ll be.”
The deadline for entries for the Quicken Loans National is 5 p.m. Friday, and the PGA Tour will announce the full 120-player field shortly thereafter. Steinberg has said Woods will appear at the tournament even if he is unable to play. Last year when he sat out, he was on hand for Wednesday’s opening ceremonies and returned to present the trophy to winner Bill Haas, who will return to defend his title. Woods has twice won the event at Congressional.