Tiger Woods plans to be back in the groove for a shot at winning his fifth Masters championship at Augusta National after announcing the expansion of his early 2017 playing schedule from only a commitment to the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19, an event he’s hosting that benefits his foundation, to promising to also tee it up at the Farmer Insurance Open in Torrey Pines from Jan. 26 to Jan. 29, the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic from Feb. 2 to Feb. 5, and the Honda Classic on south Florida’s PGA National from Feb.

23 to Feb. 26.

14-time Major champ

The 14-time Major champ, second only to Jack Nicklaus’ 18 crowns, and 79-time overall PGA Tour winner, second only to Sam Snead’s 82 tour victories, is no doubt locked in mentally on being prepared for an early April run at re-capturing past glory on Bobby Jones’ spectacular layout. Woods could add to his Masters tune-up schedule in March by showing up at the Valspar Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club from March 9 to March 12 and/or the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill from March 16 to March 19 as a tribute to Arnold Palmer who passed away on Sept. 25. They would be the likely events he could enter since he doesn’t qualify for the two World Golf Championship tournaments in the month, and the Shell Houston Open runs from March 30 to April 2, which would cut into prime preparation time.

Bubba Watson switches from Titleist to Volvik

Meanwhile, the SBS Tournament of Champions gets the 2017 portion of the PGA Tour schedule under way this week and Bubba Watson will take on the Plantation Course at Kapalua after switching his golf ball affiliation from Titleist to Volvik. The change means the big bombing lefty will be hitting golf balls of different colours that are manufactured by the company which include pink, pearl blue/white and green models of Volvik’s S4 4-piece, 105 compression golf ball.

Watson earned his way into the SBS Tournament of Champions by winning last year’s Northern Trust Open in February at Riviera. He has nine career tour victories including a pair of Masters championships in 2012 and 2014.