Woods re­laxed ahead of come­back in Ba­hamas

Arab News - - SPORTS -

NASSAU, Ba­hamas: Tiger Woods de­liv­ered a strong in­di­ca­tion he is ready for his come­back af­ter a 16-month lay­off when out-driv­ing Olympic cham­pion Justin Rose at Nassau’s Al­bany Club in the Ba­hamas on Mon­day.

The 14-time Ma­jor win­ner makes his long awaited re­turn in the Hero World Chal­lenge start­ing Thursday, where he will play with Amer­i­can Ry­der Cup star Pa­trick Reed.

He teamed up with Rose, who has been a res­i­dent on the ex­clu­sive Al­bany es­tate for two and a half years, for­mer New York Yan­kees base­ball leg­end Derek Jeter and fel­low World Se­ries win­ner Tino Martinez.

Woods, who has ‘parked’ his lux­ury yacht ‘Pri­vacy’ close to Rose’s pala­tial home on the is­land, was clearly very re­laxed in the com­pany of the three and aside from an er­rant drive down the left side of the 13th he was in play for much of the nine holes in the sunny but windy con­di­tions.

There were no of­fi­cial scores recorded but it’s un­der­stood Woods, wear­ing shorts, shot a com­fort­able one-over-par 37 for the nine holes that in­cluded two bo­geys and a birdie.

High­light of his nine holes was a 350-yard down­wind drive at the par-four 15th that was eas­ily 40 yards fur­ther than Rose.

Rose is re­turn­ing af­ter a sev­en­week in­jury ab­sence and looked a lot more rusty than Woods who will tee-up in the 18-man $3 mil­lion event in his first ap­pear­ance since shar­ing 10th in the Wyn­d­ham Cham­pi­onship 465 days ago.

“I was re­ally pleased the way I was strik­ing the ball as I hit it pretty well but then the wind to­day is ex­pected to come from a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion on Thursday,” said Woods.

“The greens, and how they’ve set them up at the mo­ment, are a lit­tle too quick for this wind and with talk of a storm also com­ing in on Thursday, they should be per­fect.”

It was Woods’ sec­ond nine holes on the Ernie Els de­signed course hav­ing played the front nine on Satur­day and spend­ing Sun­day work­ing on the range.

But if his golf and his positive de­meanour is any sign then Woods could sur­prise many come Thursday’s start to the event.

Woods seems to have gained fur­ther strength in chat­ting at length over the nine holes with both Jeter and Martinez, with Jeter com­pet­ing in the later stages of his own ca­reer with a bro­ken an­kle he sus­tained in Oc­to­ber 2012.

“That’s one of the things I was talk­ing to Derek and Tino about and that his how long did it take them at the start of each match to get ready to go out and play in each game,” dis­closed Woods.

Tiger Woods speaks with the me­dia ahead of the Hero World Chal­lenge at Al­bany, The Ba­hamas, on Tues­day in Nassau, Ba­hamas. (AFP)

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