Tiger Woods’s long-awaited return to the PGA Tour will begin at home against the smallest field in competitive golf. Woods will play the Hero World Challenge at Albany December 1-4, starting alongside a mere 17 other players.
“A lot of players make their homes right there, so it’s a buddy trip to Ti’s house,” quipped one irreverent wag of a golf commentator, and he’s right. Woods will make his return – essentially – in his own back yard at a tournament that benefits his Foundation.
Woods was slated to play both the Safeway Open and the Turkish Airlines Open, but pulled out of both. In doing so he waited until the week of Safeway to back out, angering fans who had made special arrangements to see him in person for the first time since August of 2015 at the Wyndham Championship. Sources say the reason was Woods’s chipping was off, recalling his battles with chipping yips during earlier comebacks. The sight of Woods stubbing and flubbing like a 20-handicapper was surely humiliating to the 14-time major champion.
Woods had microdiscectomy surgery on three separate occasions to alleviate back problems, but rushed returns to competition in orer to chase Jack Nicklaus’s major championship record. This time he took a full 15 months off.