Garcia mirrors golf’s delight Woods is returning to formal competition at Genesis Invitational

Fatiha Betscher

Tiger Woods (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Fatiha Betscher

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By Fatiha Betscher, Muscat, Oman

Sergio Garcia mirrored the delight of the golf world following the news that Tiger Woods will return to formal competition at this week’s Tiger Woods Foundation hosting of the Genesis Invitational in Santa Monica.

Woods has not played ‘individual’ competition since the emotional scenes last July in missing the halfway cut at the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews.

The 15-time major winner was due tee-up earlier in December in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas but withdrew citing Plantar Fasciitis, inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, and one of the most common causes of heel pain.

A week later, Woods and good friend Justin Thomas teamed to tackle Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth losing 3&2 in a 12-hole ‘The Match’ at the Pelican club in Florida and then a week prior to Christmas Woods again teamed with son Charlie to share eighth place, and using a motorised golf cart in the PNC Championship in suburban Orlando.

So, this week’s record-setting $US20m PGA Tour event will be the now lowly World number 1,283rd ranked Woods’ first ranking event in 214 days.

Garcia, who is well in contention for victory at the Asian Tour’s International Series Oman, was delighted with the news.

Garcia said: “It’s good news not only for Tiger himself but everyone he is going to play next week at the Genesis.

“Though I would feel it is going to be a week-to-week situation for him and depending on how he feels, I am sure everyone will be wishing him well.

“Riviera is a tough golf course to be playing but Tiger clearly loves it there, and it’s a wonderful golf course to be competing on.

“As golfers and competitors, we all love to compete and work hard and Tiger is no different to each and everyone of us, as he wants to be out here competing but it’s just that he has had tougher times with injury that he’s gone through.

“I think that we all love to fight and give our best and he’s no different to any of us, so wishing him well next week”.

Garcia posted a third round four-under 68 in much less windier conditions along the Gulf of Oman shoreline for five-under tally, and sharing fifth place four off the lead in the $US2m event at Muscat.

Former World No. 1 ranked amateur Takumi Kanaya continues to lead the field adding a 67 to move one shot clear of his rivals at nine-under.

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