PEBBLE BEACH, California — Tiger Woods will play his first U.S. PGA event of the 2012 season at next month’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, the 14-time major champion announced Monday on his website. The appearance will be the first for Woods at the event since 2002. He won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2000, rallying from five strokes back in the last round, and won the U.S. Open four months later by a record-setting 15 strokes. “I’m excited to start my PGA season at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am,” Woods said. “I’m looking forward to playing in this event. I haven’t been to this tournament lately, but I have a lot of good memories at Pebble.” The major victory at Pebble Beach began a run of four major titles in a row for Woods, the famed “Tiger Slam.” Woods, who first saw the Pacific Ocean-side layout as a junior golfer, shared fourth at the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. “It has always been one of my favorite spots,” Woods said. “It might be the prettiest place on Earth.” Woods will open his 2012 season on Jan. 26 at the HSBC Championship in Abu Dhabi. The Pro-Am features play on Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula’s Shore course as well as Pebble Beach in the first three rounds. “I’ve never played Monterey Peninsula and am looking forward to it,” Woods said. “From all I’ve heard, it’s a wonderful course and the greens are fast.” Woods snapped a two-year win drought last month by winning the 18-man World Challenge event to benefit his foundation, but has not won a U.S. PGA event since September of 2009. “It was great to finish 2011 strong,” Woods said. “More importantly, it’s good to be healthy again. I’m hoping to get off to a fast start.”
Woods, whose 84 worldwide titles include 71 in U.S. PGA events, was nagged by injuries the past two seasons as well as the fallout from his infamous sex scandal. In addition to chasing the career record of 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus, Woods is also chasing the all-time U.S. PGA victory record of 82 won by Sam Snead.