- The Washington Times - Friday, June 20, 2014

Tiger Woods, who has not played in a PGA Tour event since undergoing back surgery in late March, announced via his Facebook page Friday afternoon that he will make his return next week and join the 120-player field for the Quicken Loans Invitational at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda.

The 38-year-old Woods, whose Tiger Woods Foundation is the presenting sponsor of the event, had surgery to repair a pinched nerve and herniated disk on March 31. He withdrew from The Honda Classic during the fourth round on March 1, citing a back injury, and played in the WGC-Cadillac Championship a week later before taking time off for surgery and recovery.

“After a lot of therapy I have recovered well and will be supporting my foundation next week at the Quicken Loans National,” Woods wrote on the social networking site. “I’ve just started to hit full shots but it’s time to take the next step. I will be a bit rusty but I want to play myself back into competitive shape. Excited for the challenge ahead.”

Woods did not play in the event last year, when he was recovering from a strained left elbow, but he won it in 2012. He also won the event in 2009.

Bill Haas, who won the event last year when it was known as the AT&T National, will return to Congressional to attempt to defend his title. Three other former winners are in the field – K.J. Choi (2007), Justin Rose (2010) and Nick Watney (2011) – as are Erik Compton, the runner-up at the U.S. Open last week, and Keegan Bradley and Jason Day, who finished tied for fourth.

Ernie Els, who won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and the British Open in 2002 and 2012, is one of several other players in the field who have won major championships. Jason Dufner, who won the PGA Championship in 2013; Webb Simpson, who won the U.S. Open in 2012; and Stewart Cink, who won the British Open in 2009, are also committed.

Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed are among other players currently ranked in the top 25 of the money list who are in the field.