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New dad Tiger may return to Tour next week

Tiger Woods, Elin Woods
Rob Carr/AP
The proud parents: Tiger and Elin Woods.

DETROIT (AP) — The Buick Open is optimistic Tiger Woods will play his first tournament as a father in Michigan.

A day after Woods' wife gave birth to their first child, Buick golf marketing manager Larry Peck said that was good news.

"No. 1, we're happy that the baby and Elin are healthy and that Tiger is spending time with them," Peck said Tuesday. "From a tournament standpoint, the timing reduces the uncertainty of next week."

Peck added: "He has told us all along that he intends to play here. I have nothing but optimism that he'll spend a great week at home with the baby and Elin, then he'll come defend his title."

Woods said May 21 he intended to play at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc but the birth of his child was a priority.

Less than 24 hours after Woods finished second at the U.S. Open on Father's Day, he announced on his Web site that Sam Alexis Woods was born.

Woods said he would miss a major if it meant seeing the birth of his child. Now he won't have to, but it's not clear how his upcoming schedule will be affected.

"We're not going to bother him at this point, but I think the timing of the birth makes it even more of a sure thing that he's coming," Peck said. "He officially commits with the PGA Tour on the Friday before tournaments."

The Buick Open is earlier this year than in the past, starting June 28 and ending July 1 instead of in early August.

Woods has played at the tournament about 60 miles north of Detroit the past five years — winning it in 2006 and 2002 — and eight times in his career.

He has had a sponsorship agreement with Buick since 1999 and agreed to a new deal in 2004 believed to be worth more than $40 million over five years. Buick has said the contract does not require Woods to play in specific PGA Tour events it sponsors.

He is scheduled to host a tournament in Washington, D.C., from July 5-8.

The British Open starts July 19, and the PGA Championship begins Aug. 9 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.

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