Tiger Woods Set to Return to Golf in Hero World Challenge
Tiger Woods plans to play his foundation’s Hero World Challenge, his first competitive golf since withdrawing from the Masters. The annual tournament at Albany Golf Club, Nov. 30-Dec. 3, in the Bahamas is a 20-player event that is not official on the PGA Tour but gives Official World Golf Ranking points.
Woods, who turns 48 on Dec. 30, has not played since April at the Masters, where he withdrew before the resumption of the third round that was delayed by weather. He had made the cut at the tournament for the 23rd consecutive time, matching a record held by Gary Player and Fred Couples.
Soon after the Masters, Woods had surgery on his right ankle, which was severely damaged along with his lower right leg and foot in a February 2021 car crash. Woods, a 15-time major champion, has played just five official events since the accident but came back far sooner than expected at the 2022 Masters.
The Hero tournament has several times been the place where Woods has tested his game following surgeries. He returned in both 2016 and ’17 following lengthy layoffs due to back surgery and played the tournament in both ’18 and ’19 after a successful return that saw him win his fifth Masters and his 82nd PGA Tour event to tie Sam Snead’s record.
Woods planned to play last year’s event, but withdrew during tournament week due to a bout with plantar fasciitis, which was indirectly related to his injuries.
He did play at the Genesis Invitational, where he made the cut and tied for 23rd, before his Masters appearance.
In recent weeks, Woods has been more active, having taken part in a clinic at a foundation event at Pebble Beach and being seen caddying for his son, Charlie, at a junior event. Afterward, he told the Associated Press that his ankle was fine but there were other issues that were still associated with walking.
“My ankle is fine,’’ he said. “Where they fused my ankle, I have absolutely zero issue whatsoever. That pain is completely gone. It’s the other areas that have been compensated for.”
Woods compared it to when he had fusion surgery on his lower back in April of 2017. He said the L5 and S1 vertebrae were fine.