The 14-time major winner makes his comeback at the Hero World Challenge this week. Here's all you need to know:
All You Need To Know About Tiger Woods’ Return
Woods makes his eagerly anticipated return to professional golf this week at the Hero World Challenge, with golf and sports fans across the world waiting with bated breath.
The 14-time major winner tees it up at Albany in the Bahamas at the event which benefits his foundation.
It’s an invitational tournament featuring just 18 players, with 16 of them inside the world’s top 24.
Hideki Matsuyama won here last year and he’s back to defend this week.
Woods returned here last year after 16 months out and, despite finishing 15th out of 17 players, he was tied 1st in birdies with 24 for the week.
He then missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in January before pulling out after the first round of the Dubai Desert Classic later that month.
Tiger has won this tournament five times. It’s a four-day event with no cut so we know we’ll get to see TW play all four rounds.
What Tiger’s said:
Woods has been speaking very positively about his health in the lead up to this week.
“I am a little surprised. The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable,” he said.
“It could be the next step, I just don’t know and that’s tough to live with. It’s been a struggle for years.
Tiger Woods swing sequences:
“To finally come out on the good side of it, it’s exciting. I am stiffer, I’m fused. But I don’t have the pain and if I don’t have the pain, life is so much better.
“I’m comfortable with pretty much every shot in the bag, but I’m still learning my distance control again.”
What the players have said:
Woods played last week with Brad Faxon, Donald Trump and Dustin Johnson, and Faxon gave GolfWeek.com some interesting insight into Tiger’s game.
Faxon said, “Tiger looked great to me. He was happy and, more than anything, he’s finally pain-free. The issues he had with the back the last couple of comebacks seem to be gone. He looked effortless, he looked free, he had some power.
“I was impressed with how far he hit the ball. Probably on the 10 holes that they were both hitting driver, Tiger hit it past Dustin half the time and Dustin hit it past Tiger half the time. He looked great.”
Woods then played a practice round with Patrick Reed on Monday and the five-time PGA Tour winner echoed Faxon’s thoughts.
Reed told the Golf Channel, “He looked excited, excited to be playing golf. I was shocked how fluid his swing looked and how far the golf ball was going.
“He’s always been a little longer than me, but some of those drives today he got out there.
“He was hitting flighted, flat cuts, high cuts, low draws, high, just soft draws, moving it both ways with his driver.
“If he starts getting command of that and feeling good, we’re going to have some fun.”
Rickie Fowler has also been talking up Woods’ length off the tee:
Woods is still using those TGR branded irons we saw last month along with Nike wedges and TaylorMade M metalwoods. His beloved Scotty Cameron is still in the bag, as is the Bridgestone ball.
Related: Tiger Woods What’s in the bag?
When does he tee off?
Woods begins the Hero World Challenge at 5.05pm UK time on Thursday, playing alongside 2017 PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas.
Here are two of Woods’ latest driver swings from practice this week:
How has he been playing in practice?
Quite simply – very good. Woods shot four-under for nine holes playing with Patrick Reed and Reed was seriously impressed with Tiger.
The Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis followed Woods, tweeting “Bottom line, he looks ready to compete at the highest level.”
Here is his nine-hole scorecard from his practice round with P Reed:
What should we expect from Woods this week?
Nothing. All we can hope for is that he looks and feels strong and healthy, gets through the week and then announces a schedule of events for 2018.
If he really is playing as well as people are saying, I’d guess he could finish inside the top-10 but it’s been a long time since he’s has a scorecard in his hand.
Let’s just sit back and enjoy watching one of golf’s all time greats back inside the ropes.
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