Tiger Woods shoots even-par in the Hero World Challenge pro-am

Tiger Woods looks relaxed as he shoots even-par in the Hero World Challenge pro-am ahead of competitive comeback… despite claiming his game is ‘rusty’

  • Tiger Woods played the pro-am ahead of his competitive return on Thursday 
  • The golf legend insisted Tuesday that he still possessed a competitive drive
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

Desperate fans finally got a glimpse of Tiger Woods back in action as he hit the fairways for the Hero World Challenge pro-am Wednesday. 

The 47-year-old is gearing up to make his first competitive appearance since The Masters at the tournament in the Bahamas this week and warmed up by joining in on pro-am competition ahead of round one on Thursday. 

The 15-time major winner teed off in the first group at 8.20am alongside Dr. Pawan Munjal, the managing director and CEO of Hero MotoCorp who appeared alongside Woods in his pre-tournament press conference Tuesday morning. 

And despite Woods’ claims Tuesday of his game being ‘rusty’, Woods striped his first tee shot down the middle of the fairway. 

Everyone was intrigued to see the golf legend back in action even his peers, as Keegan Bradley, stood on the 14th tee, took a moment to watch Woods tee of on the seventh.  

Tiger Woods looked relaxed as he teed it up in the Hero World Challenge pro-am Wednesday

The 15-time major winner teed off in the first group at 8.20am ET alongside Dr. Pawan Munjal

The 47-year-old is gearing up to make his first competitive appearance at the tournament

However, according to PGA Tour staff writer Paul Hodowanic, Woods was still walking with a noticeable limp but it didn’t appear to be affecting his game. 

The 82-time winner on the PGA tour only played nine holes in order to conserve his energy for the first round Thursday and shot an even-par with two birdies and two bogeys, according to Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig. 

Ahead of his round, Woods was spotted looking relaxed as he beamed on the practice ground and even stopped to take a selfie with fans. 

Thursday will mark Woods’ third comeback to competitive golf from injury after not playing since withdrawing from The Masters in April. 

He battled through pain due to reaggravated plantar fasciitis from his 2021 car crash during a blustery third round at the undulated Augusta National before the elements forced him to withdraw, later having surgery on his ankle. 

But despite the setback, Woods believes he can still win as he revealed his desire to compete is the main factor fueling his determination to return to the course.

‘I love competing. I love playing. I miss being out here with the guys. I miss the camaraderie and the fraternity like atmosphere out here, and the overall banter,’ Woods said. 

‘But what drives me is I love to compete. There will come a point in time, I haven’t come around to it fully yet, that I won’t be able to win again. When that day comes and I’ll walk.’ 

When pressed on whether that meant he still believes he can win again, which could break his tie with Sam Snead for the PGA Tour record wins, the golf icon adamantly responded: ‘Absolutely.’

Woods was beaming ahead of his round and even stopped to take selfies with fans 

Despite claiming his game was ‘rusty’, Woods striped his tee shot off the first down the middle

And Woods intends to give himself plenty of chances to taste victory on the fairways once again as he announced his intention to play a potential 12 tournaments in 2024. 

‘I think the best scenario would be maybe a tournament a month,’ he said. ‘I think that’s realistic. You would have to start maybe with the Genesis [in February], then something in March, maybe The Players. But we have a setup right now where the biggest events are one per month, so it sets itself up for that. 

‘Now, I need to get myself ready for all of that, I think this week is a big step in that direction.’

Woods made a remarkable return to competitive golf at The Masters in 2022, just 14 months after a single-car crash in February 2021 almost cost him his leg. 

However, the injuries he sustained during the accident made walking the course a struggle with him limping at times and he was in visible pain at Augusta earlier this year. 

He underwent surgery in April to help with the injury and has kept a relatively low profile on and off the course since. 

Ahead of this week’s event, Woods insisted he still had a competitive drive and can win 

However, while fans will be rejoicing at the highly-anticipated return of the golfing legend, he warned not to expect a pristine game. 

‘My game feels rusty,’ Woods admitted. ‘I haven’t played in a while and I have my subtalar fused, and so I’m excited to compete and play. 

‘I’m just as curious as all of you are to see what happens because I haven’t done it in a while, and I can tell you this, I don’t have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre-that in my ankle. Other parts are taking the brunt of the load, so I’m a little bit more sore in other areas, but the ankle’s good. So that surgery was a success.’ 

Woods will make his proper highly-anticipated return alongside longtime pal Justin Thomas with the pair teeing off at 11:52am ET for the first round Thursday. 

Source: Read Full Article