Tiger Woods Confirms He'll Return for the Masters

As first reported by last week, Tiger Woods has confirmed he will return to competitive golf at the Masters.

Woods had been rumored to be making his comeback at either the made-for-TV Tavistock, which will be played next Monday and Tuesday, or the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, also in Orlando.

“I called both Joe Lewis and Arnold Palmer and expressed my regrets for not attending the Tavistock Cup and the Arnold Palmer Invitational” he said.

RAW DATA: Tiger Woods' Golf Victories

“I again want to thank them both for their support and their understanding. Those are fantastic tournaments and I look forward to competing in them again.

“I would also like to thank the Augusta National members and staff for their support. I have deep appreciation for everything that they do to create a wonderful event for the benefit of the game.”

Already the major with the highest TV ratings, this Masters could be the biggest yet.

"Obviously, the ratings will be off the chart," player Heath Slocum said. "It will be interesting to watch -- not only the reaction from him, but from the fans, the media, the players. I would venture to say he might be nervous."

Woods twice has come into a major after a long layoff without playing, with mixed results -- he missed the cut at Winged Foot for the 2006 U.S. Open after his father died, and he won the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines while playing on a shattered left knee.

Woods is a four-time Masters champion, although he has not won at Augusta National, his longest drought.

In some respects, the Masters makes sense for golf's No. 1 player to return. Media credentials are limited regardless of who's playing or what's in the news, and Augusta National has more control of its tickets than any other golf tournament.

Those with season badges risk losing them if they violate policies, or are caught selling them.

Woods has been the biggest draw at the Masters ever since he became its youngest champion at 21 in 1997, when he broke the tournament scoring record with a 12-shot victory.

That mostly likely won't compare to this year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.