The worst-kept secret in golf isn’t a secret anymore.
Tiger Woods announced on his website Monday that he will play his first PGA Tour event of the year at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, on Feb. 9-12.
"I'm excited to start my PGA Tour season at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am," Woods said in a statement. "AT&T is a great partner to my Foundation, and I'm looking forward to playing in this event. I haven't been to this tournament lately, but I have a lot of good memories at Pebble. It will be fun going back."
Woods hasn’t played the Pebble Beach pro-am event since 2002. He famously won the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by a record 15 strokes and made the cover of Sports Illustrated.
"It's always been one of my favorite spots," Woods said in his statement. "It might be the prettiest place on earth."
Woods normally begins his PGA Tour season at Torrey Pines in January. This year, however, he is playing the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, on Jan. 26, the same week as the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Woods had said that he would be adding a new event to his schedule and many people speculated that it would be Pebble Beach. On his website, Woods mentioned some of the changes to the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am that might have made the tournament more appealing to him.
Two major changes have occurred in the AT&T tournament since he last competed. The field has been reduced from 180 pros and amateurs to 156, which has improved the pace of play. In addition, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club has replaced Poppy Hills Golf Course in the three-course rotation, which includes Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill Golf Course.
"I've never played Monterey Peninsula and am looking forward to it," Woods said. "From all I've heard, it's a wonderful course and the greens are fast."
If Woods plays his usual schedule of events, his next event after Pebble Beach will be the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson, Ariz., on Feb. 22. Expectations for Woods are high this year after his season-ending victory at the Chevron World Classic in December. Tiger Woods Photos: Life in Pictures | Major Victories | SI Covers