Tiger Woods made final preparations for his comeback from ankle surgery at the Hero World Challenge by taking part in the pro-am the day before the event.
However, per Bob Harig at Sports Illustrated, rather than complete the 18 holes, the 15-time Major winner instead opted not to push his body too far, calling it a day after completing nine.
This week’s return to action will be Woods’ first competitive appearance since he withdrew from the third round of April’s Masters at Augusta National before undergoing a subtalar fusion surgery on his right ankle just days later.
According to Harig, Woods’ performance in the pro-am showed no cause for alarm, although he still walked with a limp. Generally though, he was reportedly walking better than during the Masters, when the third round saw him severely limping on the challenging Augusta National terrain. Meanwhile, he even managed a couple of birdies as he tested out his body on the flatter Albany course.
Footage posted on X by PGA Tour journalist Paul Hodowanic also showed Woods on what would be his final hole of the day. Hodowanic also wrote: "Caddie Rob McNamara told reporters they made the decision this AM. Woods wants to keep himself fresh for 72 more holes over the next 4 days."
Here is Tiger Woods’ last swing of the day, a nippy pitch on No. 9. Though scheduled for an 18 hole pro-am, Tiger is done after 9 holes.Caddie Rob McNamara told reporters they made the decision this AM. Woods wants to keep himself fresh for 72 more holes over the next 4 days. pic.twitter.com/yIeseMOZb6November 29, 2023
Rather than a cause for any concern, then, it appears Woods’ decision to cut his round short is merely with one eye on four days of action across 72 holes at the no-cut event.
During his press conference before this week’s tournament, Woods confirmed that he is now pain-free in the ankle, but that there have been knock-on effects elsewhere. He said: “I can tell you this, I don't have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre that in my ankle. Well, other parts are taking the brunt of the load so I'm a little more sore in other areas, but the ankle's good. So that surgery was a success.”
Not only that, but Woods also teased the possibility of playing a tournament a month in 2024, which would represent his fullest schedule in four years should he achieve it.
He continued: “I think that best scenario would be maybe a tournament a month. I think that's realistic whether that's - you would have to start with maybe at Genesis and something in March near The Players. Again, we have set up right now the biggest events are one per month. It sets itself up for that. Now, I need to get myself ready for all that. I think this week is a big step in that direction.”
Following the Hero World Challenge, which Woods will begin alongside Justin Thomas at 11.52am ET (4.52pm GMT) on Thursday, he is next scheduled to appear at the PNC Championship with son Charlie at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, which begins on 16 December, and where he can use a cart.
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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