Tiger will start 2015 in Phoenix

Tiger Woods confirmed media reports when he announced on his website that he will play for the first time in 2015 in the Waste Management Phoenix Open in three weeks at TPC Scottsdale.

Woods, who has not played in the Phoenix-area event since 2001, also said he will play the following week in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he has won eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open.

“It will be great to return to Phoenix,” said Woods, who grew up in Cypress and has played three times previously in the tournament. “The crowds are amazing and always enthusiastic, and the 16th hole is pretty unique in golf.

“Torrey is a very important place to me. My Pop took me there when I was younger, and I have a lot of special memories of watching the Tour play there when I was growing up.”

Since Woods said he is not going to play on the Middle East Swing of the European Tour this year and would add at least one event on the West Coast Swing of the PGA Tour, the smart money was on the Farmers  to be his starting point.

Officials of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the Northern Trust Open are hoping he adds them to his schedule.

Even though he has not played in the Phoenix-area event since 2001, and has never won it, Tiger has more than a little history with the tournament.

In 1997, he made a memorable hole in one on the famed stadium-style 16th hole, and two years later he enlisted a group of spectators to move a large boulder that impeded his path to the green.

Also in 1999, a man heckling Woods was removed from the course by police and later arrested when a gun was discovered in his backpack. Two years after that, a fan threw an orange onto a green while Woods was putting, and he hasn’t been back since.

The crowds at TPC Scottsdale are among the most rowdy on the PGA Tour, and while Woods embraced that early in his career, it is believed he grew weary with what is billed “The Greatest show on Grass.”

In his three previous appearances at TPC Scottsdale, he tied for 18th in 1997, finished solo third in 1999 and tied for fifth in 2001.

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