July 19, 2024

Tiger Woods’ comeback at the Hero World Challenge proves he’s not ready to ‘sail off into the sunset’


Most athletes with an harm listing as lengthy and detailed as Tiger Woods could be retired from skilled sport. Woods, nonetheless, is completely different to most athletes.

The 15-time main champion’s much-anticipated return to skilled golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas wasn’t excellent, nor was it ever doubtless to be.

But in his first match in almost eight months, Woods demonstrated that he can nonetheless be aggressive at a excessive commonplace and that his want to hold taking part in stays undiminished.

He completed on even par at Albany Golf Club on Sunday, inserting 18th out of 20 on the general leaderboard. His ultimate spherical featured 5 birdies – together with a superb lengthy putt on the fifth – in addition to some wayward moments: a double bogey on the second gap and three additional bogeys on the eighth, eleventh and sixteenth.

All in all, there have been some promising indicators for the 47-year-old. Woods averaged 305 yards off the tee, proving that his lengthy recreation is in good well being, and he additionally confirmed that his overwhelmed and ageing physique can nonetheless stand up to the rigors of 4 rounds of aggressive golf.

“I think I’ve come a long way from being a little bit rusty to playing four days and knocking off a lot of rust, which was great,” Woods told Golf Channel after his ultimate spherical.

“The physicality of actually playing and competing again – I haven’t done this in a while. It was nice to get out there with the guys and have some fun and compete. I just wish I could have played a little bit cleaner but there’s always next time.”

For Woods, subsequent time will probably be the PNC Championship, a father-son match which tees off in Orlando, Florida on December 14.

This will probably be the fourth time in a row that Woods has entered the occasion alongside his son Charlie and his second match since present process ankle surgical procedure in April.

In 2024, Woods hopes to play on the PGA Tour as soon as a month. While competing in the Bahamas, he stated that the Genesis Invitational in February and the Players Championship in March may very well be choices as he steps up his aggressive return.

From there, he might seem at the Masters in April and even at the Olympics in Paris later in the yr.

“Once a month seems reasonable, and it gives me a couple of weeks to recover, a week to tune up,” Woods stated on Sunday. “Maybe I can get into the rhythm of something like that. That’s what the plan was going into next year. I don’t see why that would change.”

During the Hero World Challenge, which Woods hosts, he stated that he had been “pleasantly surprised” along with his bodily restoration between rounds.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - DECEMBER 03: Scottie Scheffler of the United States and tournament host Tiger Woods pose with the trophy after winning the final round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on December 03, 2023 in Nassau, . (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images,)

He posted a two-under 70 on Friday, climbing to fifteenth on the leaderboard after a hit-and-miss opening spherical, and adopted up with a 71 on Saturday.

But the most vital factor will probably be that his physique held up, some eight months after Woods stated that he had endured “constant pain” whereas taking part in at the Masters.

The ankle surgical procedure that adopted his withdrawal at Augusta National in April was the newest in an extended line of accidents which have compelled Woods to take time away from golf; he suffered extreme leg accidents in a automotive crash in 2021 and has additionally undergone surgical procedures on his again and left knee over the years.

Given what he has already achieved over the course of his embellished profession – 15 main titles and a joint-record 82 PGA Tour wins – you may excuse Woods for wanting to stroll away from the sport altogether.

“He could easily sail off into the sunset, never touch a club again, never do anything again – just go and live his life and enjoy the second half of his life, do whatever, hang out with his kids,” Scottie Scheffler, who gained the Hero World Challenge by three photographs, informed reporters forward of the match.

“But he continues to come back and wants to compete and he continues to do what’s best for the players and the PGA Tour. It’s pretty inspirational for the rest of us involved in the game.”

After his win on Sunday, Scheffler stated that it was “very special” to see Woods again on a golf course, strolling down the fairways in his iconic pink and black outfit.

It might develop into a extra widespread sight for the remainder of the {golfing} world subsequent yr as one among the recreation’s biggest gamers continues to rage towards the dying gentle.