Woods To Play In His Inaugural Tournament

Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 5:01 pm
By: News On 6

Tiger Woods' new PGA Tour event is already off to a great start.

Two weeks after becoming a father, Woods will return to competition at the AT&T National. The tournament got another boost Wednesday when three-time major champion Phil Mickelson said his recovery from a wrist injury is ahead of schedule and he will join the field at Congressional Country Club on July 5-8.

Woods will announce Thursday or Friday that he's playing, a tournament official said Wednesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity pending the official announcement.

Jim Furyk (No. 3) and Adam Scott (No. 4) previously committed to play in the AT&T National.

That Woods is playing is no surprise.

He joins Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to host a PGA Tour event, and it became more likely he would play the AT&T National when his wife gave birth to their first child, a girl named Sam Alexis, on June 18.

He skipped the Buick Open this week, where he was defending champion at an event run by one of his top sponsors. It was only the second time Woods has not played as the defending champion.

No one expected Mickelson, the No. 2 player in the world, to be playing so soon after missing the cut at the U.S. Open with his left wrist in a brace. But he said after 10 days of rest and rehabilitation he has been cleared to play.

``Two specialists looked at it and agreed there were injuries in multiple joints but they're much better now because of the rest,'' Mickelson said on his Web site (www.philmickelson.com) . ``The cortisone shot helped with one of the joints and there's no real structural damage. The doctors both feel I'm ready to go back and play at 100 percent effort.''

Mickelson said he might feel some discomfort, but it is not expected to flare up as it did at the Memorial, where he had to withdraw after 11 holes. He said he would continue his schedule, going to the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and then the British Open.

Woods has not played Congressional since the 1997 U.S. Open, where he finished 10 shots behind Ernie Els in a tie for 19th.

The AT&T National, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, came together quickly. The Fourth of July week on the schedule became vacant in February when the International canceled its tournament in Colorado. Woods' tournament was created a month later, and it caused a brief stir when the tour said it would be limited to 120 players.

Along with the top four in the world, Vijay Singh (No. 6) also committed to play, although he was having an MRI on his elbow this week