Tiger Woods insisted he was "excited" to return to golf as he laughed off claims from close friend Justin Thomas that he was "scared" to return to the tour.

The 15-time major winner spoke on Tuesday, two days ahead of the Memorial Tournament getting under way.

He said golf would feel like "a different world", with "nothing to feed off" given the absence of spectators, and vowed he would go all out for victory this weekend.

But Woods also admitted his instinct when golf returned was to "stay at home and be safe", and see how early events panned out, given the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that physically he feels in great shape, having been struggling fitness-wise earlier in the year, and revealed he had been playing plenty of tennis at home, watching lots of television and reading books by his favourite author Dean Koontz.

Woods, 44, has weighed up the safety elements of playing competitive sport again, given the possibility of contagion, and said: "That's the risk that I'm taking, that's the risk all of us are taking.

"The tour's done a fantastic job of setting up the safety and trying to make sure all of us are protected, are safe.

"But it is a risk we are now undertaking - going outside your property and being around individuals who you don't know where they've been or what they've been doing.

"We've had to make adjustments but it's a risk that I'm willing to take."

Woods was out on the Ohio course early on Tuesday with Thomas, who playfully had suggested golf's greatest player of the past 30 years was hiding away.

"I got a bunch of texts and a bunch of calls when he said that and hence I'm out here," Woods said, laughing.

"So I'm not afraid of JT anymore, I've gotten over that, and here we are."

He said it would be strange to play without "the noise, the energy that people bring".

"It's silence and a different world," he added. "Even at college I had a few people following me."

The PGA Tour has been up and running since mid-June, and last week's Workday Charity Open tournament took place at the same Muirfield Village course that will host the Memorial Tournament.

Woods clearly gave thought to playing from the off, but was wary of how the resumption might pan out.

"I did consider playing - I tried to figure out if I should play or not," he said. "I just felt it was better to stay at home and be safe.

"I'm used to playing with lots of people around me and having lots of people having a direct line to me. That puts not only myself in danger but my friends and family.

"I feel I'm comfortable enough to come out and play again and I'm excited to do it."

Now comes the question of whether Woods can be competitive, having not played since finishing last among those who made the cut at the Genesis Invitational in February.

"I would like to say that I'm going to win the event. That's my intent going in here and going into every event," Woods said.

"Whether that plays out... hopefully that will be the case."

Collin Morikawa overcame Justin Thomas in a play-off to win the Workday Charity Open, his second title on the PGA Tour.

In just his 24th start as a professional, Morikawa capitalised on a late collapse by Thomas to join his fellow American in a share for top spot after 72 holes – the pair locked together at 19 under par.

There was nothing to split them when they twice played the 18th again, both managing an opening birdie before Thomas missed a putt for victory.

Having moved to the 10th, Thomas quickly found trouble off the tee and, forced to pitch out, handed the advantage to his rival. Morikawa duly seized the opportunity, collecting the par he needed to prevail at the third extra hole.

Former world number one Thomas had held a two-shot lead overnight having produced three bogey-free rounds at Muirfield Village.

While Thomas dropped shots at the second and third in a shaky start to his Sunday, a run of four birdies around the turn had the world number five back on track for victory.

An eagle at the 15th pushed Thomas three clear, yet he bogeyed two of his final three holes to sign for a score of 69, only enough to tie with Morikawa after the 23-year-old had risen up the leaderboard with his 66.

Viktor Hovland (71) finished alone on 15 under, his hopes for a late charge dashed by a one-over back nine, with Chase Seiffert (67) was a further shot back.

Justin Thomas will take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Workday Charity Open after carding another six-under 66 on Saturday.

The world number five has posted rounds of 68, 66 and 66 at Muirfield Village, moving to 16 under and into a two-stroke lead in Dublin, Ohio.

Thomas, the 2017 US PGA Championship winner, is yet to make a bogey at the PGA Tour event, as he searches for his second victory of the year.

The American made three straight birdies beginning at the fifth, before also picking up shots at 11, 14 and 15.

Thomas is two shots clear of Viktor Hovland, the 22-year-old Norwegian also posting a 66 as he mixed eight birdies with two bogeys.

Overnight leader Collin Morikawa could only manage an even-par 72 to be three shots adrift of Thomas.

Morikawa is outright third after a rollercoaster round, mixing four birdies with four bogeys to sit at 13 under.

Sam Burns (70) and Kevin Streelman (71) are tied for fourth at 11 under, a shot ahead of Ian Poulter (69) and Rory Sabbatini (69).

Rickie Fowler carded an impressive 66 to climb into nine under and a tie for eighth, alongside Gary Woodland (66), Chase Seiffert (70), Hideki Matsuyama (72) and MJ Daffue (65).

Collin Morikawa opened up a three-stroke lead at the Workday Charity Open, while Jordan Spieth is likely to miss the cut as the second round was suspended.

Morikawa continued his consistent start at Muirfield Village on Friday, carding a six-under 66 to get to 13 under.

But dangerous weather meant the second round was delayed twice before being suspended due to darkness.

Morikawa is three shots clear of fellow Americans Kevin Streelman (64) and Justin Thomas (66).

After an opening-round 65, Morikawa struggled on his front nine before making six birdies on his final eight holes.

Streelman holed nine birdies during his impressive round, while Thomas is in contention after a bogey-free round.

There were 33 players unable to complete their second rounds, with Rory Sabbatini – who is at eight under and through 17 – the best-placed of those, sitting in a tie for sixth.

Spieth, a three-time major champion, is in danger of missing the cut after a second straight even-par 72, with the projected cut at two under.

Brooks Koepka is also set to miss the cut, the world number six shooting a 69 to be at one under.

Sitting a shot behind Streelman and Thomas in a tie for fourth are Hideki Matsuyama (68) and Sam Burns (66), while Viktor Hovland (67) is at eight under alongside Sabbatini.

Englishman Ian Poulter (69) and Chase Seiffert (69) are at seven under.

Collin Morikawa edged into a one-stroke lead at the Workday Charity Open, while Jordan Spieth struggled during the opening round on Thursday.

Morikawa carded a seven-under 65 at Muirfield Village to hold a narrow advantage over Adam Hadwin.

A one-time PGA Tour winner, Morikawa made an eagle and six birdies before dropping a shot at the last hole.

After a top-10 finish at the Charles Schwab Challenge, former world number one Spieth has struggled in two events since and opened with an even-par 72.

The three-time major champion was three over through 13 holes before a birdie at 14 and an eagle at the par-five 15th saw him sit in a tie for 64th.

Hideki Matsuyama, Zach Johnson, Nick Taylor and Aaron Wise made brighter starts, shooting five-under 67s to be tied for third.

Justin Thomas, the world number five, is a shot further back in a group of 11 players who carded 68s.

Thomas recorded top-10 finishes at the Charles Schwab Challenge and RBC Heritage before missing the cut at the Travelers Championship, but the American is back in contention.

Pat Perez, Louis Oosthuizen, Tim Wilkinson, Peter Malnati, Patrick Reed, Ian Poulter, Adam Long, Graeme McDowell, Roger Sloan and Chase Seiffert are alongside Thomas at four under.

Brooks Koepka, meanwhile, battled to a two-over 74.

Brendon Todd and Dustin Johnson carded career-low PGA Tour scores as the former moved into a two-shot lead from the latter on a moving day that lived up to its billing at the Travelers Championship.

Tee times were brought forward for round three due to the threat of inclement weather in Cromwell, Connecticut, and Todd – chasing a third PGA Tour victory of the season – signed for a stunning nine-under-par 61.

Todd, who now leads at 18 under par, drained a tough 13-footer at the first and recorded four more birdies prior to the turn on Saturday.

A further four gains followed on the back nine and Todd rolled a birdie putt just past the cup on the 18th that would have seen him start the final round three clear.

"Whenever I get a two or three-week stretch in a row, I tend to be playing better by the end of it," Todd said in quotes reported by the Tour's official website. 

"That's just something I'm using to my advantage now after missing two cuts. I'm peaking in the third week and hopefully I can get it done tomorrow."

Johnson, whose last win on the PGA Tour came in February 2019, was playing a couple of holes in front of Todd and also went bogey free.

After going out in 31 strokes, former world number one Johnson made five birdies on the way home.

The American felt he left plenty more opportunities out on the course, though, with just two of his birdies made with putts of nine feet or more.

"I really felt like I controlled the distance with my irons really well and hit tons of good shots," he said. "I had a lot of really good looks at birdie."

The 2014 champion Kevin Streelman (-15) shot a seven-under 63 to sit in outright third, with Mackenzie Hughes (-14), Bryson DeChambeau and Kevin Na (-13) all in the hunt.

There was disappointment for veteran Phil Mickelson who had led overnight, though. The American great carded a one-over 71 and is now six shots back.

Rory McIlroy also struggled to get firing and the world number one is eight shots adrift after a one-under 69. 

Phil Mickelson is on course for his 45th PGA Tour title after surging into the lead following the second round of the Travelers Championship.

Mickelson – who celebrated his 50th birthday earlier this month – carded a seven-under-par 63 to top the leaderboard at the halfway stage of the tournament on Friday.

The five-time major champion was almost flawless at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut, where he holed eight birdies and just one bogey for the outright lead at 13 under.

After dropping his second hole of the day, Mickelson was blemish-free with birdies at the fifth, seventh and ninth before a bogey-free back nine yielded another five gains.

Mickelson – who won the tournament in 2001 and 2002 when the event was known as the Hartford Open – sits ahead of fellow American Will Gordon and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes.

Gordon dazzled with a second-round 62, while overnight leader Hughes saw his three-stroke advantage evaporate following a two-under-par 68.

On a day which saw Denny McCarthy test positive for coronavirus and playing partner Bud Cauley also withdraw as a precaution, world number one Rory McIlroy dropped down two spots.

McIlroy started the day three shots off the pace but heads into round three four strokes back following his two-under-par 68, which included four birdies and two bogeys.

Xander Schauffele (68), Brendan Steele (62), Brendon Todd (65) and Marc Leishman (65) are also nine under through 36 holes.

Former world number one Dustin Johnson posted a 64 to be six shots behind Mickelson, while Jordan Spieth (69) plummeted into a tie for 53rd.

Meanwhile, Justin Thomas (71), Justin Rose (73) and Bubba Watson (68) all missed the cut.

Mackenzie Hughes carded a brilliant 10-under 60 to lead the Travelers Championship as Rory McIlroy made a strong start.

Hughes holed 10 birdies in the first round at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut to open up a three-stroke lead on Thursday.

The Canadian, who has struggled since returning from the coronavirus-enforced break, made six birdies on his first nine holes before picking up shots at the second, sixth, seventh and eighth holes.

Hughes is three shots clear of world number one McIlroy, Xander Schauffele and Viktor Hovland.

McIlroy mixed an eagle and six birdies with just a single bogey to start with a seven-under 63.

While Hughes is well clear, the rest of the leaderboard is congested, with another six players a shot further back in a tie for fifth.

Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Michael Thompson, Tyler Duncan, Noh Seung-yul and Louis Oosthuizen opened with 64s.

Jordan Spieth made a solid start with a three-under 67, to be alongside Jason Day and Justin Rose among others.

Spieth, winless since 2017, was four under through nine holes before a mixed back nine, which included bogeys at 10 and 18.

Also in a tie for 33rd is Abraham Ancer, who produced the shot of the day with a hole-in-one at the 16th.

Meanwhile, former world number one Dustin Johnson opened with a first-round 69, two shots better off than countryman Justin Thomas.

Webb Simpson claimed his second PGA Tour victory of 2020 with a one-stroke win at the RBC Heritage on Sunday.

The American carded a seven-under 64 in the final round at Harbour Town Golf Links in South Carolina to add to his success at the Phoenix Open in February.

Simpson, the 2012 U.S. Open champion, has won multiple times in the same year for the first time since 2011.

The runner-up at the tournament in 2013, Simpson made five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, with the final round having been stopped for almost three hours due to weather.

Simpson broke Brian Gay's tournament-record score of 20 under set in 2009 with his 22-under 262.

"It was a crazy day. Honestly, I'm speechless right now," Simpson told CBS.

"It looked like we weren't going to finish, but we went back out, the Tour did a great job of getting us out there pretty quickly, we only had a 20-minute warm-up and it was a long day on the golf course as well.

"I didn't really get it going until 12 and then the putts started going in and I was getting confident and it's amazing to be standing here right now."

Simpson finished one shot clear of Abraham Ancer (65), while Daniel Berger (65) and Tyrrell Hatton (66) were tied for third at 20 under.

Sergio Garcia (65) and Joaquin Niemann (65) were tied for fifth at 19 under, a shot ahead of Brooks Koepka (65).

Justin Thomas and Dylan Frittelli surged with brilliant rounds of 63 and 62 respectively as they ended up in a six-way tie at 17 under.

World number one Rory McIlroy endured another difficult Sunday, posting a one-under 70 to finish tied for 41st.

The PGA Tour has confirmed 11 people who may have had close contact with Nick Watney have returned negative results in coronavirus tests.

Watney withdrew from the RBC Heritage before the second round on Friday after becoming the first PGA Tour player to test positive for COVID-19.

Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka revealed they had both been around Watney, who was at the course while he waited for his results.

"With Friday's confirmed COVID-19 case of a competitor in the RBC Heritage field, the PGA TOUR implemented its response plan in consultation with medical experts including working with those who may have had close contact with Nick Watney," the PGA Tour said in a statement on Saturday.

"As a result, 11 tests were conducted on Friday with all 11 tests being negative."

The update came as Justin Thomas spoke positively of the PGA Tour's protocols, but expressed significant concern about Hilton Head Island as a whole, calling it "an absolute zoo".

Thomas, who shot a 66 in round three and sits at nine under for the tournament, said: "We have done such a great job these first two weeks, I feel very safe.

"I wouldn't be playing if I didn't. The tour have done all the protocols they can.

"Unfortunately, you can't control guys going to get something to eat or whatever it might be, if you're staying in a hotel or room service or whatever it might be."

Expressing his concerns, the former US PGA winner added: "No offence to Hilton Head, but they're seeming to not take it very seriously.

"It's an absolute zoo around here. There are people everywhere. The beaches are absolutely packed, every restaurant, from what I've seen when I've been driving by, is absolutely crowded.

"So I would say it's still no coincidence that there's got to be a lot of stuff going on around here.

"Unfortunately, that's not on Nick because I know he's very cautious and has done everything he can, but I would say a lot of people in this area of Hilton Head just aren't."

Daniel Berger ended a three-year wait for another PGA Tour title, winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in a play-off on Sunday.

The American beat Collin Morikawa on the first play-off hole at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas in the first tournament back after the coronavirus-enforced break.

Berger carded a four-under 66 in the final round and Morikawa shot a 67 to finish at 15 under.

But as Berger made par at the first play-off hole – the 17th – Morikawa missed a short putt to stretch the tournament a little longer.

For Berger, it was his third PGA Tour victory and first since 2017, when he defended his St Jude Classic crown.

"It's just a range of emotions," the 27-year-old told CBS.

"I've grinded so hard the last two months to be in this position and I'm just so thankful that all the hard work paid off."

Overnight leader Xander Schauffele carded a one-under 69 to finish tied for third alongside Jason Kokrak (64), Bryson DeChambeau (66) and Justin Rose (66), a shot behind Berger and Morikawa.

Bubba Watson (65) and Patrick Reed (67) were a shot further back, while Gary Woodland (70) finished outright ninth at 12 under.

There was a star-studded chasing pack overnight and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were among them, but the American pair fired one-over 71s in the final round.

Spieth and Thomas finished tied for 10th alongside Im Sung-jae (67) and J.T. Poston (68).

World number one Rory McIlroy also struggled in the final round, battling to a four-over 74 to finish tied for 32nd.

Xander Schauffele climbed into the lead at the Charles Schwab Challenge as a star-studded group were left chasing heading into the final round.

Schauffele carded a four-under 66 in the third round at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas as the PGA Tour's return continued amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The American mixed six birdies with two bogeys to get to 13 under and into a one-stroke lead.

Schauffele will have several stars to hold off in the final round if he is to secure his fifth PGA Tour victory.

Justin Thomas (66) and Jordan Spieth (68) are among a group of five players tied for second at 12 under.

The pair continued their consistent showings, with Spieth aiming to add to his 2016 title, having also finished runner-up in 2015 and 2017.

Spieth, who has tumbled out of the world's top 50, made four birdies and a bogey on the front nine before dropping a shot at the par-four 15th.

Gary Woodland (66), Branden Grace (66) and Collin Morikawa (67) are alongside Spieth and Thomas in a tie for second.

A shot further back are Daniel Berger (67) and Harold Varner III (70), while there is a six-way tie for ninth.

Rory McIlroy (69) and Justin Rose (68) are among those at 10 under, alongside Patrick Reed (63), Abraham Ancer (66), Corey Conners (67) and Bryson DeChambeau (70).

McIlroy made back-to-back bogeys at the seventh and eighth holes, while Rose bogeyed two of his final three holes.

Hideki Matsuyama tied a course record to take a two-stroke lead as the opening round of The Players Championship was suspended due to darkness on Thursday.

Matsuyama fired a nine-under 63 to tie the course record at TPC at Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

The Japanese star mixed an eagle with eight birdies and a bogey during a brilliant opening at the PGA Tour event.

Starting on the back nine, Matsuyama made four straight birdies before dropping a shot at 16, only for another four birdies to follow before an eagle at the par-five ninth.

Of the previous four players to shoot a first-round 63 at the tournament, three have gone on to win – Greg Norman (1994), Martin Kaymer (2014) and Jason Day (2016) – according to the PGA Tour.

Harris English, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and 2017 champion Kim Si-woo are tied for second after firing seven-under 65s.

Marc Leishman, coming off a runner-up finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is tied for fifth at five under alongside Patrick Cantlay.

There are 15 players tied for seventh at four under, with Webb Simpson, Graeme McDowell and Viktor Hovland among them.

Only four players were unable to complete their rounds, with Bronson Burgoon (one under through 17) the best placed of that group.

Defending champion Rory McIlroy was unable to get going in the opening round, finishing with an even-par 72, while Jordan Spieth battled to a 75 and Rickie Fowler carded a four-over 76.

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka both opened with 70s, while Justin Thomas managed a 71.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour announced on Thursday the rest of The Players Championship and several other upcoming tournaments will be held without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Patrick Reed secured the WGC-Mexico Championship with a one-stroke victory on Sunday.

The American produced a fine finish at Club de Golf Chapultepec, birdieing four of his remaining seven holes on his way to a four-under 67 in the final round.

Reed finished at 18 under, a shot clear of Bryson DeChambeau, who carded a six-under 65.

It marked Reed's eighth PGA Tour win and first of 2020, and second World Golf Championships success, with the other coming in 2014 when this event was called the WGC-Cadillac Championship.

Reed made three straight birdies from holes 15 to 17 to grab control, closing out victory despite a bogey at the par-four 18th.

"It's very rewarding," he told NBC.

"My team and I we've worked so hard through the end of last year and also the beginning of this year and we kept on feeling like we were playing some good golf, just we weren't quite able to get over that hump.

"To come back and win my second World Golf Championship, especially with how I had to finish basically 15 onwards. The last hole was ugly but it was what I needed just to get the job done and at the end of the day just putting yourself in these positions on Sunday is just unbelievable, it's a great feeling.

"I can't wait to go home and celebrate with the little ones and my wife and bring them home a trophy."

Spaniard Jon Rahm (67) and South African Erik van Rooyen (70) finished tied for third at 15 under.

World number one Rory McIlroy could only manage a closing three-under 68 to end up fifth a further shot back.

Overnight leader Justin Thomas struggled to a two-over 73 that saw him finish tied for sixth alongside Hideki Matsuyama (67) and Tyrrell Hatton (68).

Thomas made three bogeys on his front nine before adding a double-bogey at the par-four 10th and dropping another shot at 13.

Justin Thomas holds a one-shot lead after an eventful third round at the WGC-Mexico Championship that included Jon Rahm breaking the course record.

After scores of 67 and 66 over the previous two days, Thomas continued going in the right direction by signing for a 65 on Saturday, moving him to 15 under par.

The American started and finished his work with bogeys, yet in between had eight birdies to put himself clear at the top of a high-class leaderboard and in pole position for his third title of the 2019-20 PGA Tour season.

Erik van Rooyen and Patrick Reed head the chasing pack after both signed for 67s at the Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Van Rooyen had moved into contention at the halfway stage with a 62 that tied the course record – but Rahm went one better to climb to 11 under.

The Spaniard made a brilliant start with birdies at six of his first seven holes and following three more after the turn, he produced a stunning hole-in-one at the par-three 17th, his tee shot dropping into the cup on the second bounce.

"With the start I had today, the only thing in mind was trying to get as close as possible to the leaders," Rahm – whose solitary blemish during a spectacular day came at the eighth – said after the lowest score of his professional career.

"If I had a good finish, I was going to have a chance tomorrow, and that's kind of what gave me a second wind on the back nine."

Rahm is tied for fourth alongside Ryder Cup team-mate Rory McIlroy (68) and halfway leader Bryson DeChambeau, who followed up Friday's 63 with a 71 that included a double-bogey seven after finding water at the sixth.

Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey are a further shot back on 10 under.

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