Sport Golf

Sunday 27 May 2018

WATCH - Tiger Woods completes the first step of his comeback... and serves up some magic moments

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Tiger Woods has launched his latest comeback attempt and the early signs are good for the fallen world No.1.

Woods has started just three events since August 2015 and withdrew from his most recent tournament in February in Dubai after an opening 77.

The 14-time major winner subsequently underwent spinal fusion surgery in April, his fourth back operation in the space of three years, but he has returned to action in this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

All eyes were on Woods as he teed off a 5.10pm Irish time and after a solid par four on his opening hole, he nailed his first birdie on the third to move to one under par.

While he missed some half chances to add to that promising start on the front nine, the control Woods displayed with his driving and irons fuelled the belief that his most recent back surgery has been his most successful yet.

The highlight of his comeback arrived at the eighth hole, as he produced a stunning long range putt to move to two under par.

After 300 days without a competitive round it was no surprise to see signs of rustiness with a duffed chip from short of the fourth green, but the 41-year-old holed from 15 feet for par and celebrated with a trademark fist-pump.

Three more pars followed before Woods holed from 25 feet for birdie on the eighth, although another duffed chip on the par-five ninth led to a first bogey of the day after reaching the edge of the green in two.

Woods showed some inconsistencies on the back nine, but holed a fine par saving putt on the 18th to record a three under par round of 69, with the smile he was sporting as he left the last green confirming he was satisfied with his efforts.

"It felt great," declared Woods. "It was great to be part of a scorecard again and I'm delighted with how it went after all the problems I have had.

"I didn't know what I could do. I had a lot of adrenalin going out there and had to dial it back a little. Those are the internal struggles I haven't had for a while. This was fun."

Former world number one Woods is currently ranked 1,199th and is a 40/1 outsider in the 18-man field, with world ranking points on offer as he looks to kick-start his flagging career.

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