Woods will play Memorial

Neck 'not 100 percent,' but he'll still defend title

May 27, 2010

It's official now. Tiger Woods' balky neck has healed enough for him to return to competition at next week's Memorial Tournament.

Woods confirmed Wednesday that he will defend his title at the Jack Nicklaus signature event — an appearance he rarely misses but left in limbo when an inflamed neck joint forced him to cut short his final round at The Players Championship.

"The doctors advised me to take a week off and rest, which I did," Woods said on his Web site. "They prescribed physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication and soft-tissue massages, which I'm continuing with.

"Although I'm not 100 percent, I feel much better and look forward to competing next week."

There's a chance Woods might not be ranked No. 1 in the world when he arrives at the Memorial. Phil Mickelson can break Woods' five-year hold on the top spot if he wins this week's Colonial.

Woods typically has played the Memorial as his final tuneup for the U.S. Open, becoming the event's first four-time winner after last year's closing 65. He also won three in a row from 1999-2001. The only times he did not enter were after his father's death in 2006 and two years later after knee surgery.

Creative packaging: Though the Golf Club at Benton Shores doesn't open for another 21/2 months, the southwestern Michigan venue already has secured two Senior PGA Championships.

Give an assist to the Whirlpool Corporation. As part of a four-year sponsorship deal announced Wednesday with the appliance maker, the PGA of America gave the 2012 and 2014 Senior PGAs to Benton Shores. The Champions Tour major has been rotated among the game's classic venues since leaving PGA National in 2000.

Tap-ins: A 1960s ABC-TV contract with Arnold Palmer's signature is among the items included in a memorabilia auction online. The document affirms that Palmer's participation in a "Challenge Golf" competition was conducted fairly and without prior knowledge of the outcome. Bids are being accepted through June 10 at scpauctions.com. … Add Nicklaus to the list of pros with their own wine label on the market. A 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Private Reserve, crafted in partnership with Terlato Wines, make their public debut at the Memorial.

— Jeff Shain

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