It had been an emotional whirlwind for golf fans in the Philadelphia area over the last four months as they tried to guess whether Tiger Woods would participate at Aronimink Golf Club this summer in the AT&T National.
After a year of high anticipation, Woods' highly publicized transgressions, which compelled AT&T to drop him as a national spokesman Dec. 31, resulted in the loss of his role as host of the PGA Tour event. Then as his family problems worsened, there was a possibility he might not play at all.
But Wednesday, Woods put all doubts to rest, announcing on his Web site that he would indeed compete in the AT&T National, a tournament that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, on July 4 weekend at Aronimink, in Newtown Square.
"I'm really looking forward to defending my title at the AT&T National," said Woods, who won the tournament last year when it was played at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.
"Philly is a great sports town," he added, "and I'm excited to play at Aronimink Golf Club."
Until Wednesday, there had been debate on whether Woods would play in the area for the first time. After he finished fourth at the Masters on April 11, Woods said he wanted to reevaluate the issues in his life before committing to future tournaments.
However, since the AT&T National benefits his foundation, it was believed Woods would make every effort to attend. When he won last year's event, he donated his entire first-prize check of $1.08 million to the foundation.
"I'm not surprised," Aronimink president David Boucher said Wednesday. "This tournament is run by his foundation and it benefits his foundation. It makes an awful lot of sense to me that he'll be playing in the tournament. I'm absolutely thrilled he'll be here."
Plus, the tournament fits neatly into his schedule. Woods will compete in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, then take a week off, then play at Aronimink, then take another week off, and head to the British Open at St. Andrews, where he has won twice.
Boucher said hospitality and advertising business for the tournament had been "a little slow" over the last 30 days, but "now we expect it to take off again."
Emily Taylor, spokeswoman for the tournament, said that officials expected Woods would play, and that his commitment "didn't alter any of our planning" for the event.
"Tiger is featured in our newspaper and television advertising along with other players who are expected to compete as well," Taylor said in an e-mail. "We've received much positive feedback about the 'Philly's Got Golf' campaign, and are looking forward to a great event."
The "Philly's Got Golf" promotion, found on the tournament's Web site (attnational.org), offers complimentary tickets and daily ticket discounts to the tournament.
While Woods remains mum on the state of his family life in the wake of the scandal, his official commitments now to four tournaments - the Quail Hollow Classic (next week), the Players Championship (May 6-9), the U.S. Open (June 17-20) and the AT&T National - show he's ready to compete on a regular basis again.
The Masters was Woods' first venture into competitive golf in nearly five months. His life began to unravel after a traffic accident outside his home in the early hours of Nov. 27 prompted reports of his involvement in extramarital affairs.
Woods subsequently spent 45 days in a rehab center.