Tiger Woods marked his return to competitive golf with a par on the first hole at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas on Thursday.
Woods was out for nearly 16 months due to a chronic back injury looked calm and relaxed as he lined up for his first tee shot at the Albany golf course here.
Woods, dressed in all black except a white glove, received a warm reception from the gallery. He narrowly avoided a fairway bunker from his opening drive. However, he hit a solid approach shot to reach the green in two.
The 14-time major champion then missed a long birdie putt before rolling in a routine three-footer for par and more polite applause. The Hero World Challenge is hosted by Woods to benefit of his charitable foundation.
The elite 18-man field has attracted some of the world’s top golfers including Americans world number three Dustin Johnson and number five Jordan Spieth, fourth-ranked Swede Henrik Stenson and Britain’s Olympic champion Justin Rose.
With no midway cut Woods will get four rounds to assess his comeback before deciding on where and when he will return to the PGA Tour. He has not competed since finishing 10th at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North Carolina, in August 2015, after which he had two operations on his back.
On Wednesday, after his practice round, Woods said he was ‘focussed’ and ‘ready’ for the weekend. “I felt good with pretty much everything,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters. “I was able to hit all the shots I needed to hit. The wind was definitely pumping today (Wednesday). I did a little bit of work for probably 12 holes or so. After that we were jawing pretty good.”