The publication cites two anonymous sources saying Woods is a lock to return to the event after a 13-year absence: a tournament official who says Woods has already reserved a courtesy car for the event and another source claiming he has already booked a hotel room at the nearby Four Seasons Resort.
The tournament starts January 29 and is played this year over Super Bowl weekend, with University of Phoenix Stadium hosting the NFL's championship game in the same metro area. One of the most highly attended events on the PGA Tour, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is played at TPC Scottsdale, which was recently renovated by original architect Tom Weiskopf.
Woods doesn't have to make a commitment to play official before January 23, the Friday before tournament week. He typically doesn't announce his entry until that deadline. Woods is yet to announce his first event of 2015. If tradition holds and Woods plays the Farmers Insurance Open the next week in San Diego, Phoenix would kick off Woods' season.
The spot in Woods' schedule is open because sponsors for events in the European Tour's swing through the United Arab Emirates, where Woods has cashed in on massive appearance fees dating back to 2006, have refused to pay the $3 million fee he commands.
The 14-time major winner has made three previous Phoenix starts, finishing T-18 in 1997, third in 1999 and fifth in 2001. In 1997, Woods made a hole-in-one on the layout's 16th hole, a par 3 whose single-day attendance typically outdraws the entire, whole-course gallery for a single day at other PGA Tour events. The ace lead to Woods' roof-raising celebration that was an early highlight of his career.
Despite the good vibes at the event, Woods has previously dealt with fans who were security risks. In 1999, a Woods heckler was tackled by security and found to have a gun. Two years later, a fan threw an orange onto a green while Woods was putting.