Tiger Woods, who's been out of competition since the WGC-Cadillac Championship in early March due to a back injury, is expected to play in the inaugural Americas Golf Cup in October.
Bob Harig of ESPN.com reports that details surrounding the event are still a bit sketchy, but it's a team tournament scheduled to take place in Argentina. As long as Woods is healthy, he is slated to pair with fellow American Matt Kuchar.
The report noted that Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, has confirmed the superstar's expected participation while they await further information:
Several Latin American media outlets reported the possibility last month and have said the inaugural event will be called the Americas Golf Cup and played at the Nordelta Golf Club or Pilar Golf Club.
Steinberg said "the deal is now in place" and that he was awaiting word on the venue. The format possibly will be medal-match play, but Steinberg said it is still to be determined. Steinberg, whose company is Excel Sports Management, also represents Kuchar.
Woods had five wins in 16 PGA Tour events last season. He had just a single top-20 finish in four tournaments this season before undergoing microdiscectomy surgery to relieve pain in his back that became more evident with each passing start.
The 14-time major champion posted on his official site to update fans about the progress of his recovery. He noted that positive strides were being made, but he admitted it's a "very slow process" and didn't put a timetable on his return to competitive action:
As for my return to golf, I really don't know. I'm doing everything I can and listening to my doctors and working on a strength program, and then we just have to see how my back is. Some people heal up in three months, some people take four months, some people take longer. I just don't know.
He already missed the Masters. There are three more majors on the schedule for 2014, with one each month starting in June. Obviously, Woods would like to play in as many majors as possible as he tries to chase down Jack Nicklaus' record. His return doesn't sound imminent, though.
One thing his absence has illustrated is his importance to golf as a whole.
Not only did the Masters lack its usual intrigue, but this week's Players Championship, which is normally one of the most talked-about tournaments of the year, is almost an afterthought as well. Between Woods' injury and the NFL draft, the event is firmly in the sports background.
Golf Central noted an interested tidbit heading into The Players Championship with regard to Woods' current status in the sport:
It's something that looms large for the first Americas Golf Cup. The amount of attention the tournament is going to generate is directly related to whether Woods competes.
The question becomes whether that will be Woods' first tournament back. The final major, the PGA Championship, takes place in early August, and Woods isn't going to qualify for the playoffs if he doesn't play before then.
So Woods could conceivably miss the rest of the PGA Tour season and then play in Argentina to start gearing up for the 2015 schedule. He could also decide to back out of the event and just shut things down until next year.
The bottom line is that the level of uncertainty surrounding his return remains extremely high. It comes down to balancing the desire to compete in the big tournaments with the risk of a major setback.
As for now, it sounds like he'll be in Argentina to play in October, but don't write anything in stone quite yet.