On Friday morning, the PGA Tour announced that Tiger Woods would be returning to professional golf next week in the Safeway Open, the first event in the PGA Tour season, taking place in Napa, California.

The layoff

In August 2015, Woods put on a good show at the Wyndham Championship, finishing in a tie for tenth place and shooting 13-under par. He was clearly in discomfort, though, claiming his hip was bothering him even though he recently had a procedure on his back. After multiple back surgeries, he missed all of the majors in 2016, the first time this has happened in his career.

While less eyes have been on golf since Woods has been gone, the game has seen the emergence of several new stars in his absence.

Dustin Johnson returned from a battle with addiction and won the U.S. Open. He would go on to finish first on the money list for the season. Jason Day from Australia also emerged as a star, while phenom Rory McIlroy won the FedEx Cup Playoff in September.

The return

Woods began to emerge from his absence last month in the wake of legend Arnold Palmer's passing; Woods sent several tweets about the impact Palmer had on him and the game of golf. He also served as a vice captain for the United States' Ryder Cup team, which secured its first victory over the European side since 2008.

In addition to the Safeway Open, Woods is also scheduled to play in the Turkish Airlines Open in November (a European Tour event), as well as the Hero World Challenge in December, which Woods is unable to qualify for, but has an exemption as the host of the tournament.

Woods' career is likely on the downside after a personal scandal and injuries have caused him to struggle for the past half decade. Woods is 40-years-old and second on the all-time list in career PGA Tour victories, but hasn't won a tournament since 2013. He has also fallen off Jack Nicklaus' major pace; Woods hasn't won a major since the U.S.

Open in 2008, which he famously secured in a playoff while hobbling around on one leg.

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