Woods looks like his old self — for part of 1st round
With 73, he slips to 17th out of 18
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Not only did Tiger Woods return to golf Thursday, he returned to being Tiger. Just not for long. Hardly looking like a player whohad not competed in 466 days, Woods ran off three straight birdies with a variety of shots and was tied for the lead in the Hero World Challenge as he approached the turn.
Three shots into the bushes, one shot into the water and a few fits of anger sent him toward the bottom of the pack. A pair of double bogeys over the final three holes ruined an otherwise impressive return, and Woods shot 40 on the back nine at Albany Golf Club and had to settle for a 1-over 73.
He was in 17th place in the 18-man field. Only Justin Rose had a higher score.
Even so, Woods has reason to be encouraged. After taking off 15 months to recover from two back surgeries, he felt no pain or limitations. His misses were not big, just costly. And he was playing again.
“It could have been something really good,” Woods said. “I got off to a nice, solid start and made a few mistakes there. I didn’t play the par-5s very well in the middle part of the round and consequently, got it going the wrong way. But all in all, I feel pretty good. I’m looking forward to another three more days.”
He was nine shots behind J.B. Holmes, who opened with an 8-under 64 and had a one-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama, with U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson at 66.
Curiosity was greater than expectations for Woods, who was coming off the longest hiatus of his golfing career. Hindered by back problems since 2013, when he was No. 1 in the world, he finally shut it down after tying for 10th in the Wyndham Championship on Aug. 23, 2015, and then going through the two back surgeries.
Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 12th hole. Thursday was his first competition in 466 days.