Fourteen-time Major winner Tiger Woods has confirmed he will compete in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic at Emirates Golf Club from February 2-5.
The 41-year-old American will make his eighth appearance in the tournament, which he has won twice in 2006 and 2008.
The former World No. 1 was sidelined with back injury for 15 months, but he made a comeback at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December, where he shot four under par to finish 15th out of 17 golfers.
In that event, he carded more birdies (24) than any other player, signalling his intent for a long-awaited return to form in 2017.
In Dubai he will join the likes of fellow two-time Dubai winner and current World No. 2 Rory McIlroy, Open winner Henrik Stenson and Masters champion Danny Willett.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing in Dubai and it’s fantastic to see how the city has grown phenomenally from when I first started playing there,” said Woods, who made his Dubai debut in 2001.
“It was great winning in Dubai in 2006 and 2008. When you win in Dubai, you know you’ve beaten an outstanding field. The support from the fans is also just wonderful.”
In seven previous appearances in Dubai, Woods has won twice and recorded five top five finishes, his worst appearance was last time out in 2014 when he finished tied for 41st.
He is just one win away from equaling Ernie Els’ record of three Dubai wins, and is one of only four multiple Dubai winners, including Els, McIlroy and Stephen Gallacher.
Tiger’s niece Cheyenne Woods featured in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic’s sister event, the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters, at Emirates Golf Club last month, and she backed her uncle to catch Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Majors now he’s fit again.
“From what we saw this past week, I think Tiger definitely has many more wins in him,” she said of his performance in the Bahamas in December.
“Next season will be really exciting to see him hopefully play a full season, or whatever he might put together. I think he definitely has a chance,” she added of his ability to catch Nicklaus.
Mohammad Juma Bu Amim, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of event organisers Golf in Dubai, said: “We are naturally delighted and proud that Tiger Woods is joining us for the 2017 Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
“Having one of the world’s greatest golfers play in your event is something many tournament organizers dream of; so for us to be able to welcome him to the Majlis Course for the eighth time is a major boost for golf in the Middle East, especially Dubai.
“Tiger has always been a great ambassador for Golf in Dubai, having spoken highly of the city and the tournament during his visits here.
“I am confident his presence will create a global buzz as always, giving fresh impetus to tourism in the city. After all, he transcends all races, ages and genders.
“Like everyone else, I also look forward to seeing his trademark fist-pumps. I wish him the very best and hope he has a wonderful stay in Dubai.”