Tiger Woods' back felt strong enough after Friday's round in Los Angeles that he committed to play next week in the Honda Classic.
Woods, in the early stages of a comeback from spinal fusion surgery, will return for the first time since 2014 when he had to withdraw from the final round due to back trouble.
The Honda Classic, Feb. 23-26, will be played for the 12th year at PGA National, a short drive from Woods' home at Jupiter Island, Fla.
"It's great to see him healthy and pain free to where we can go out (on the course and) ... he's just enjoying having fun," Honda defending champion Rickie Fowler said earlier week.
The question has been about whether his back was strong enough to play tournaments on consecutive weeks for the first time since returning to competition in early December following a 10-month layoff.
Woods is playing this week at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles. He had until 30 minutes after completing his second round on Friday to declare his intention to play at Honda.
During a media event Tuesday at Riviera Country Club, he explained what it would take to decide to play next week.
"Just not to feel sore, to feel like I can play all-out again within, what, three days off," Woods said. "To be able to go at it full bore again. That's something that I've been trying to do at home and trying to simulate rounds where I go full bore at it, but it's never the same as in a tournament."
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Woods had a three-year run at Honda beginning in 2012 when he tied for second behind McIlroy.
Playing Honda would make sense, both for the proximity to his home on Jupiter Island, 20 minutes from PGA National, and because there are few other opportunities to hone his game prior to The Masters.
"We're prepared for him, our community is prepared for him," Ken Kennerly, executive director of the Honda Classic, said this week. "I think if his back can hold up, if his doctor agrees that he's able to do two (tournaments) in a row -- that seems to be the hang-up right now -- I think we'll see him."
As of Tuesday eight of the top 20 players in the world rankings had committed to Honda, topped by No. 4 Justin Thomas.
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