Tiger Woods makes strong injury return

Beth Cruz
December 3, 2017

There were signs of vintage Tiger during his first round of competitive golf in 301 days after recovering from a fourth back surgery.

Charley Hoffman's nine-under 63, which included 12 birdies, put him in command at 12-under 132, three strokes ahead of Jordan Spieth (67) and England's Tommy Fleetwood (69).

Even for Woods - the redshirted one who, with is unprecedented showreel, taught golf to ignore every barrier that had ever been there before - this seemed surreal. However, those odds were quickly trimmed as he got off to an encouraging start.

The 41-year-old tournament host led for a short time following a magnificent start to his second round, but it was a very different story on moving day as he bogeyed the first after pulling his tee shot left.

After two strong rounds that had many followers believing Tiger was back, the former world number one stumbled, recording four of his five bogeys in the first seven holes to finish at three-over par 75. Instead, Woods shot 40 on the front nine, didn't make a birdie until the 14th hole and wound up with a 75.

He was unable to convert a decent birdie opportunity set up by a brilliant approach from the waste area at the 16th, before producing a good chip to save par at the 17th and then confidently knocking in a testing four-footer to do likewise at the last. I had to dial it back a bit.

"Those are the internal struggles I haven't been through in a while".

The performance impressed leading coach Denis Pugh.

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