tiger to return?

Published:

Tiger Woods is poised to return to action next week at the WGC-Accenture Matchplay Championship in Arizona.

The world No 1 - out of action since knee surgery last June - is tipped to make his long-awaited comeback on February 25 in Tuscon.

Though there's no official word from Woods' camp, his friend Mark O'Meara says he's looking fit and healthy, and playing full rounds at his home in Isleworth, Florida.

Speculation has increased over the past week that Woods would make his debut in Tucson - because his wife gave birth to their second child - a boy named Charlie Axel - two weeks ago.

O'Meara said: "He hasn't told me personally when he's going to start back, but I know he's pretty much almost ready to start back, so I wouldn't be surprised," O'Meara said. "But I don't make his schedule, and I know that everybody always wants me to tell everybody when he's going to play, but I don't know what he's going to play."

Woods is the defending champion at Match Play and has an sponsorship deal with Accenture. He is expected to be in Arizona next week for a corporate obligation, although that doesn't mean he will play. Woods has until Friday to decide.

"I would say he's better than ever," O'Meara added. "His legs bothered him for about three years and it had been pretty bad. I think the break was probably the best thing that ever happened to him. Eight months away from the game, it gave him a chance to connect with his daughter, see the birth of his son.

"I think he's going to be come back better than ever," he said. "That's just my opinion, and I can be wrong. But most of the time with Tiger, I've been right."