Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Tiger Woods makes comeback at Hero World Challenge 2017

Tiger Woods makes comeback at Hero World Challenge 2017

On Thursday, Woods teed off in the Hero World Challenge, his first tournament in ten months and his first event since his fourth back surgery and his arrest in May.

After his tee shot at the par-three 12th sailed wide right and into rough, Woods promptly slammed his club to the ground but quickly calmed down and delivered perhaps his best chip of the day to within four feet for a solid up and down.

Playing competitively for the first time in 301 days, the 14-time major victor made five birdies at Albany Golf Club as he beat his effort when making a similar return in this event 12 months ago by four shots.

"I hadn't played in a while after some difficulties, so to come out here and score like I did was nice", Woods added. "It was fun to be part of a scorecard again".

Woods, whose 79 career PGA Tour wins are three shy of Sam Snead's all-time record, has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open and has not won any event since the 2013 World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.

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Mainly the result of him having just started three events since August 2015, Woods is now ranked 1,199th and began the week a 40-1 outsider in the 18-man field.

Riding high after a pair of consecutive birdies, Woods was two shots off the lead at the par-five 15th hole when his tee shot sailed far right.

"I did not know what I could do", admitted Woods. "I've been playing a lot of holes at home but it's different when you are in a tournament".

"I had to dial it back a little bit".

After narrowly missing birdie putts on his opening two holes Woods hit his approach shot at the par-five third to about 40 feet and went on to tap in for birdie. "Those are the internal struggles I haven't had for a while".

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He shot five birdies and two bogeys to trail England's Tommy Fleetwood by three shots in the Bahamas.

The performance impressed leading coach Denis Pugh. "The greatest player of his generation has come back at an age when comebacks aren't normal".

Fleetwood is making his first start in the 18-man tournament and will look to cap his breakthrough season with another victory before getting married on Tuesday.

He made the turn three shots back from the leaders in a star-studded limited field, with Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth all at four under.

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