Tiger Woods fizzled out in his return to competitive golf as a slew of miscues left him in last place after the opening round of the Hero World Challenge on Thursday, well back of leader Jordan Spieth. Woods, who had not played competitive golf since the PGA Championship in August due to back troubles, struggled with all facets of his game en route to a five-over-par 77 that left him 11 shots back of rising American talent Spieth.
The 21-year-old American, fresh off his victory on Sunday at the Australian Open, and a host of others showed that low scores were available in the 18-man event that Woods is hosting. “I’m excited about the start to this week,” said Spieth. “I’m excited about how last week went and kind of riding the momentum.”
Woods, meanwhile, was at a loss to explain his struggles. The former world number one hit wayward drives and irons to the wrong side of the greens, flubbed chips and botched putts on his former home course, Isleworth Golf and Country Club, which he said he has played about 500 times before.
“It was just one of those days where nothing went my way,” he said. Spieth birdied the last four holes of the front nine to post a blazing five-under 31, and had two birdies and a bogey on the homeward half for six-under-par 66.