Tiger Woods reveals progress on competitive return: ‘I’ve come a long way’

The 47-year-old finished level par at the Hero World Challenge in his first tournament since ankle surgery earlier this year

Phil Casey
Sunday 03 December 2023 20:41 GMT
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Tiger Woods finished level par at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas (Fernando Llano/AP)
Tiger Woods finished level par at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas (Fernando Llano/AP)

Tiger Woods felt he had made significant progress after completing 72 holes in his latest comeback from injury in the Hero World Challenge.

Competing for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery after withdrawing from the Masters in April, Woods carded a closing 72 in the Bahamas to finish level par for the week and 18th in the 20-man field.

The 47-year-old recovered from a double bogey on the third with three birdies in the next four holes and also birdied the 14th and 15th after dropping  shots on the eighth and 11th.

“I think I’ve come a long way,” Woods told NBC. “From being a little bit rusty to playing four days and knocked off a lot of rust which was great, and just the physicality of actually playing and competing again – I haven’t done this in a while.

“It was nice to get out here with the guys, have some fun and compete. I wish I would have played a little cleaner but there’s always next time.”

Asked about his pre-tournament prediction that he could be able to play one tournament a month in 2024, Woods added: “If you ask me right now I’m a little bit sore.

“But once a month seems reasonable. It gives me a couple of weeks to recover, a week to tune up. Maybe I can get into a rhythm. That’s what the plan was going into next year and I don’t see why that would change.”

In a separate interview with a group of reporters, Woods added: “Every day I got faster into the round. The first day took me a while to get a handle on it, second day was faster, today was right away.

“And that’s eventually, when I play on a regular basis, that’s normally how it is.

“I think the best part of the week is the way I drove it. I drove it on pretty much a string all week. Granted, these fairways are big. I felt like I had my ball speed up, which was nice, and I was hitting the middle of the face the entire week, which is nice.

“So it’s not like I have to go and try and find something the next few weeks or something going into next year; what I’ve been working on is right there and maybe just [need to] tighten up a little bit.”

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