Tiger Woods will make his highly anticipated return to competitive golf at the Masters, ending a four-month hiatus brought on by a sex scandal.
The world's No. 1-ranked player, who has never missed the year's first major as a professional, announced in a statement Tuesday that Augusta National Golf Club will be the site of his comeback.
"The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I'm ready to start my season at Augusta," Woods said in a statement.
"The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it's been a while since I last played."
The Masters is scheduled for April 8-11. Since World War II, only one player has made his first official event of the year the Masters and gone on to win -- Ben Hogan in 1951 and 1953.
Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National and the tournament, said: "We support Tiger's decision to return to competitive golf beginning at this year's Masters Tournament. Additionally, we support and encourage his stated commitment to continue the significant work required to rebuild his personal and professional life."
Woods is a four-time Masters champion, although he has not won at Augusta National since 2005, his longest drought there.
"We were pleased to learn that Tiger Woods will be playing the Masters in a few weeks," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. "He has invested a lot of time taking steps, both in his personal and professional life, in order to prepare for his return. We all wish him and his family the best as he rejoins the Tour."
The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it's been a while since I last played. ” -- Tiger Woods.
"We look forward to Tiger's return to the Masters and seeing him back on the course," said Nike, Woods' longtime sponsor, in a statement.
The Masters had been seen as a strong possibility for Woods' comeback, due to the relative scarcity of tickets and Augusta National's tight control of the event, which extends to media coverage.
The Richmond County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office, which assists the private firm hired to provide security for The Masters, has not been asked for changes to the security plan and is not expecting any major problems, the Augusta Chronicle reported.
"We have that place sealed up tight," Richmond County Col. Gary Powell said, according to the report.
Woods last played on Nov. 15, when he won the Australian Masters in Melbourne for his 82nd career victory. His world then unraveled less than two weeks later; he was involved in a one-car crash outside his Florida home that required a hospital visit and led to a series of revelations about his personal life that included a later admission of multiple affairs.
"I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy and I am continuing my treatment," Woods said in his statement. "Although I'm returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life."
Date: Apr. 8-11, 2010
2009 champion: Angel Cabrera
Course: Augusta National Golf Club
TV coverage: Rounds 1 & 2, April 8-9, 4 p.m. ET on ESPN
Rounds 3-4, April 10-11, on CBS