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Sunday May 26, 2024

Woods set for golf return at Hero World Challenge

By AFP
November 20, 2023
Tiger Woods of the US smiles on the fourth tee during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on April 2, 2018. — AFP
Tiger Woods of the US smiles on the fourth tee during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, on April 2, 2018. — AFP

LOS ANGELES: Golf superstar Tiger Woods will play the Hero World Challenge he hosts in the Bahamas, his first competitive golf start since the Masters. The 15-time major champion announced his intention on social media on Saturday.

“Tournament host @TigerWoods to play in the 2023 #Hero WorldChallenge,” a post on Twitter, which is being rebranded as ´X´ said, adding that Justin Rose and Lucas Glover would round out the 20-man field for the November 30-December 3 event at Albany in the Bahamas.

Woods suffered severe leg injuries in a 2021 car crash and was sidelined until the 2022 Masters, where he finished 47th. He withdrew in the third round of this year´s Masters in April and had ankle surgery later that month to treat arthritis linked to injuries suffered in his 2021 crash.

Woods, who shares the record for PGA Tour victories with Sam Snead at 82, has struggled to walk courses for four rounds since his return from the accident. He caddied for son Charlie in a 54-hole tournament in November and also put in an appearance before last week´s PGA Tour event in Mexico, the tour´s first event to be played on a course that he designed.

At El Cardonal at Diamonte, Woods was seen walking comfortably down a long staircase and visiting with players, including fellow American Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open winner who declared Woods was in “go mode” and had returned to practicing.

Woods has made just five PGA Tour starts since the California car crash in which he suffered multiple breaks in his right tibia and fibula. The 47-year-old has made the cut four times but completed 72 holes just twice.

The inactivity has seen his world ranking plummet to a career-worst 1,307th. In February, Woods completed four rounds at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. It was his first start in seven months, and Woods reiterated at Riviera that his competitive schedule would remain extremely limited.

At Augusta National in April he acknowledged that he wonders each time he plays the Masters if it will be his last time there, and he was unable to achieve his goal this season of competing in all four majors and perhaps “a couple” of other events.

“It has been tough and will always be tough,” he said at the Masters. “The ability and endurance of what my leg will do going forward will never be the same. That´s why I can´t prepare and play as many tournaments as I like. “But that´s my future and I´m OK with that.”