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'Rusty' Woods will return to competitive golf next week

(Reuters) - Tiger Woods, out since late March after having back surgery, will return to competitive golf at next week's Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, the former world number one said on Friday.

Woods said he was excited to be returning after missing the year's first two majors following treatment for a pinched nerve in his back that had troubled him for months.

"I've just started to hit full shots but it's time to take the next step," Woods said on his Facebook page. "I will be a bit rusty but I want to play myself back into competitive shape. Excited for the challenge ahead."

He has not played a competitive round since tweaking his back on the last day at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami, where he finished five over par for the tournament and tied for 25th after a closing 78.

After not playing in this year's Masters and U.S. Open, there was growing speculation that Woods could also miss the year's third major, the July 17-20 British Open at Royal Liverpool in Hoylake, England.

The 38-year-old American has now missed six major championships due to injury, and he remains stuck on his career tally of 14 wins in golf's blue riband events.

He has been increasingly plagued by injuries in recent seasons as the wear and tear of years on the tour have begun to take a toll.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Gene Cherry)

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