CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Tiger Woods will play in his first tournament since the Masters next week at the Quail Hollow Championship.
Woods on Friday committed to the event formerly called the Wachovia Championship. He won the tournament in 2007, but couldn’t defend last year because he was recovering from the first of two knee surgeries.
Woods has been off since mid-April, when his final-day charge came up short at Augusta National and he finished tied for sixth. Next week’s tournament will serve as a tuneup for Woods ahead of The Players Championship a week later.
Woods’ commitment gives the Quail Hollow Championship, which begins Thursday, one of the best fields on the PGA Tour with 10 of the top 14 golfers in the world rankings.
Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, defending champion Anthony Kim, Jim Furyk and Masters champion Angel Cabrera are scheduled to play.
“We are very happy to have Tiger coming back,” tournament director Kym Hougham said. “With the exception of Joey Sindelar, who has moved on to the Champions Tour, we have all of our past champions returning. The patrons and the community of Charlotte are in for a real treat this year.”
Tournament officials are hoping Woods’ appearance will cause fans to gobble up the remaining tickets for the event, which has been impacted by the slumping economy.
Wells Fargo, which bought Wachovia late last year, took the Wachovia name off the tournament at Quail Hollow Club. Wells Fargo will limit its involvement to the terms of the sponsorship agreement it inherited, which runs through 2014.
The Charlotte area has also been hit harder by the recession than most because of the high concentration of banking jobs. Tickets have never been available this late ahead of the tournament.
Having the No. 1 golfer in the world in the field could change that in a hurry.
Woods has long been a fan of the Quail Hollow Club layout and will play in the tournament for the fourth time in seven years. He missed the inaugural event and did not play in 2006 following the death of his father.