return to competitive play at his foundation’s Hero World Challenge had the golf world on its toes, ready to see how the 14x major winner would look on the course after a 16-month absence.
Overall it was a promising weekend for the 40-year-old who led the tournament in birdies (24 to winner Hideki Matsuyama’s 22). Friday was a particular highlight for Woods after an incredible bogey-free 7-under 65!
But it wasn’t all good news for the former world number one who also led the tournament in double bogeys – carding an unwanted six in total. And whose final round was a disappointing 4-over 76, placing him 15th in the 18-man field.
So what did 4-rounds of Tiger tell us? First of all, it’s extremely promising that after not playing since August 2015 he was able to complete four rounds, even if they weren’t all perfect. Will he ever be up to playing to the Tiger standards of the past? Who knows, Woods has had two back surgeries in his time off and is also a lot older than he was when he was winning everything. Today he’s competing against the likes of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler – guys in their early twenties.
This doesn’t mean another tour title or dare we say major win isn’t possible but don’t expect any overnight miracles. Woods’ seems to be acutely aware of this and is playing his comeback smart. He has yet to confirm his schedule for 2017 but seemed confident in his play over the weekend.
“I was pleased with how well I got into the competitive flow of the rounds,” Woods told the PGA Tour afterwards.
Adding, “I made some birdies this week, which is nice. I was playing aggressive. I thought I might have created a little bit of noise a little bit here and there after a couple starts. I just wasn’t able to keep it going for two of those rounds, but overall it was a fun, competitive week for me.”
With a mix of TaylorMade and Nike equipment in his bag, Woods is now focused on making his new gear work for his game. Telling reporters last week.
“I’m still learning some of my equipment. My irons are old irons, don’t have to worry about that. I’m still learning my fairway woods. I’m still learning the golf ball. I haven’t been at it that long yet, and as I’ve told you guys this week, this is the first time I’ve ever played non‑glued hosels before, so the adjustability thing and the weight in the hosel and the weight distribution throughout the clubhead, it’s a different mechanical thing and it’s also a different feel thing, too.”
Adding, “I’m hitting shots and numbers that are surprisingly bad and surprisingly good, and I have to do a lot more testing in the future before I actually do feel comfortable.”
Whether you thought the weekend was a success for Woods or an epic fail you can’t deny the excitement he brings to the game. We’re keen to see what the New Year has in store for Woods and if he will be able to reignite his game.
To check out the latest gear the 14x major winner is using see below.
Driver: TaylorMade M2
3 &5-wood: TaylorMade M1
Irons: Nike VR Pro
Wedges: Nike VR Forged
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS
Ball: Bridgestone B330S