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Return of the Tiger

Ryder Cup Golf

Two weeks after the PGA Tour season ended, the next one starts Thursday and for some fans it can’t get here soon enough: Tiger Woods is returning to golf.

Woods made it official Friday by entering the Safeway Open in Napa, California, the first event on the PGA Tour’s schedule. He has said a month ago that he hoped to play the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort, but had until Friday afternoon to officially commit.

Woods last played on Aug. 23, 2015, at the Wyndham Championship in a last-minute bid to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs. A month later, he announced a second surgery on his back, and then a third one a month after that.

Even through other operations on his knee, the 40-year-old Woods has never spent this long away from competition. And never has the No. 767 player in the world attracted so much attention.

“Silverado is the perfect course for him because it is so straightforward,’’ tournament host Johnny Miller said last month when Woods indicated he hoped to play. “I think he’ll love being back in California. If he can get a good first round … just get some confidence and springboard from there.’’

Woods plans to play the Turkish Airlines Open next month and then his Hero World Challenge the first week in December, giving him three tournaments in roughly three months to end the year.

The Safeway Open has a little extra star power next week. Phil Mickelson already has announced he will play, and PGA Tour officials are considering putting them in the same group for the opening round.