Tiger Woods admitted he was "rusty" on his return as broadcasters were forced to apologise for his language.
Woods was back competing for the first time since April's Masters where he limped out ahead of ankle surgery. Brian Harman's opening -5 round set the pace in The Bahamas at the top alongside Tony Finau as Woods initially showed plenty of his enduring class with some big drives, deft chips and - particularly - fine putts on his comeback.
Yet it got harder for Woods on the back nine though in the breezy Bahamas where he had a double-bogey seven on the par 5 15th after driving into a bush as he swore when he failed to fully hack out. Woods ended with a 75 for a +3 round to lie 18th in the field with only Wyndham Clark and Will Zalatoris behind him.
Woods, who turns 48 in December, said: "I was rusty, I didn't have my feels. I didn't finish off my round the way I needed to. Consequently it kind of went sideways at the end. I didn't commit to some shots, all the kind of things I normally take for granted."
Asked about his physical fitness after his first round back in 236 days, Woods added: "I am going to be sore , that is for sure. We have some stuff to do tonight to get ready for tomorrow and then head back into the gym to get right after it."
Hero World Challenge scores
- -5 Harman, Finau
- -4 Spieth
- -3 Young, Scheffler, Morikawa, Homa
Tiger Woods' score:
- +3 after 18 holes (18th out of 20-man field)
Hello everyone, what a day we have in store - Tiger Woods is playing golf! The 15-time Major winner plays with close friend Justin Thomas in round one.
How will he get on? Follow along for what is set to be an entertaining Thursday in The Bahamas.
TIGER IS BACK ON THE PROWL ON TOUR
Tiger has arrived 🐅 pic.twitter.com/rzHngEnzjgNovember 30, 2023
ANTICIPATION BUILDING AHEAD OF TIGER'S RETURN
Woods' comeback has been highly anticipated for weeks after he was seen hitting full shots for the first time since his subtalar fusion procedure on his ankle. Since then, he has tested his ankle regularly caddying for his son Charlie and said he is hoping to play a tournament a month in 2024. The 47-year-old American's latest surgery was done to address post-traumatic arthritis following the 2021 car crash that sidelined him for nearly 14 months. And remarkably, Woods still believes he will be competitive on tour as we will discover today. "There will come a time when I can no longer win. When that time comes, I will walk away," Woods said. "I love to compete. I love the camaraderie, being around the guys."
TIGER'S EVERY MOVE WILL BE UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
Live on the range with @TigerWoods before he tees off at 11:52 a.m. ET 🐅 https://t.co/Yr6oyBGJGdNovember 30, 2023
TIGER RIPS HIS OPENING TEE SHOT
The 15-time Major champ is underway and what an opening shot to mark his comeback. Woods has driven his first shot 326 yards on to the fairway, leaving 113 yards to hole.
WOODS HAS A GOOD LOOK AT BIRDIE AT OPENING HOLE
After a stunning drive, Woods has put his second from 108 yards to 13foot from the pin to set up a decent birdie putt at the very first hole.
WOODS OPENS WITH A PAR AFTER BIRDIE CHANCE
Tiger fails to convert his birdie putt at the first after making the green in regulation but makes his par and has now moved on to the par 3 second, which is 169 yards.
WOODS WITH AN IMPRESSIVE SAND SAVE AT SECOND
Tiger's 179-yard tee shot at the par 3 second found the sand to the right of the green but the former World No.1 displayed his old touch with a superb sand wedge out help save par.
WOODS HEADS TO PAR FIVE THIRD LOOKING FOR FIRST BIRDIE
We are witnessing a solid start from Tiger in his first tournament since ankle surgery with back to back pars so far. The par 5 third could be a good chance at 555 yards to make his first birdie though if the American still has his powerful game. Let's see.
TAYLORMADE ENJOYED TIGER'S OPENING DRIVE
326 yards down the middle. 💪Expect anything different? #TeamTaylorMade pic.twitter.com/KiIWd8L7MgNovember 30, 2023
WOODS IS ON THE LEADERBOARD AT -1
Tiger's solid start is now starting to gain momentum after a birdie at the par 5 third following a 280-yard second to the right rough before a decent chip and a 22-foot putt for a four.
WOODS WITH WORK TO DO FOR A PAR ON FOURTH
It is 236 days since Woods was previously in competitive action in the Masters and today will be a good workout for Tiger with the Bahamas experiencing plenty of breeze. Woods missed the green on the right at the par four fourth and had a tricky up and down which left him about 12-foot for par.
WOODS DROPPED HIS FIRST SHOT
Tiger taps in for a bogey on the fourth after failing to get up and down at the 503-yard par four. After a 317-yard drive off the tee, Woods missed the green on the right with his approach and couldn't get up and down after running his chip past the hole.
WOODS LOOKS FOR IMMEDIATE BOUNCE BACK BIRDIE
Woods has fired in a 168-yard tee shot with a six iron at the par 3 fifth to 28 feet to tee up a potential birdie chance after dropping a shot to move back to level.
WOODS' PUTTING IS LOOKING HOT
Tiger moves back to -1 for the day with a brilliant left to right birdie putt at the par 3 fifth. Woods read a lot of putts for his son Charlie while he was out injured and he seems in-form on the greens for sure after a par save on the second, a birdie on the third and now this putt from 28 feet.
NEW FACE ON WOODS' BAG
If you don't recognise Woods' caddie, it is Rob McNamara, his long-time business partner and vice president of TGR Ventures. There’s now a vacancy for Woods’ bag following longtime caddie Joe LaCava’s move to Patrick Cantlay earlier this spring - as we all saw at the Ryder Cup!
PGA TOUR CLEARLY ECSTATIC TO HAVE BOX OFFICE WOODS BACK
Two birdies in five holes.@TigerWoods is looking sharp. pic.twitter.com/jYo6BleMU1November 30, 2023
WOODS SHOWS A BIT OF RUSTINESS ON THE SIXTH
Tiger plotted a route to the fringe of the 563-yard par 5 sixth in three shots and had a look at a birdie which could have moved him to within one shot of the lead. But he ran his attempt past the hole and missed a six-foot putt coming back to move back to level par
NEW LOOK SWING FOR TIGER
Inevitably after his latest surgery on his ankle, Woods is moving differently through the ball now. He looks a bit more flat footed on his right side and is having to rely on his upper body more for rotation and power but he remains competitive nonetheless and is level par after seven holes after a regulation par.
FRED COUPLES ENJOYING WOODS' RETURN
The Big Cat is back. Christmas comes early. Thank you SantaNovember 30, 2023
NO-ONE ABLE TO BIRDIE THE EIGHTH YET
None of the field have made a two at the par 3 eighth so far today but Woods just went incredibly close with a downhill, downwind left to right putt across the green which curled agonisingly past the hole. Woods then holed out for par to remain level.
WOODS LEVEL PAR AT THE TURN ON HIS COMEBACK
Woods is level par at the turn on his first competitive start in 236 days since April after a par 5 at the ninth where he got up and down. At the top of the leaderboard Brian Harman is setting a mighty impressive pace but Woods' own round has been impressive in its own right after his latest surgery. His playing partner Justin Thomas for comparison is +2.
WILL ZALATORIS ALSO ENJOYING A COMEBACK
Making birdies and giving hugs.@WillZalatoris is officially back. pic.twitter.com/pSnfhQK531November 30, 2023
ANOTHER PAR FOR TIGER AT TENTH AFTER MISSING BIRDIE ATTEMPT
Woods remains level par after 10 holes today following a four at the 420-yard tenth. The American had 134 yards to green and put his approach to 14 feet but failed to convert.
WOODS' DRAINS MONSTER BIRDIE
Tiger made the par 5 11th in regulation despite his drive leaving him in an awkward sloping lie. It looked tough for Woods following his ankle surgery but the 15-time Major champion found the fairway to leave himself 133 yards to the green before he holed a 48-foot putt at the 587-yard for a birdie four.
TIGER SMILES AS DRAINS A HUGE PUTT TO MOVE TO -1
We’ve seen this before.@TigerWoods couldn’t help but smile after a long birdie. pic.twitter.com/dX2aNbdQHhNovember 30, 2023
WOODS UNDERSTANDABLY INCONSISTENT ON RETURN
No sooner had Woods drained a huge birdie putt on the 11th, he promptly dropped a shot on the par 3 12th after missing the green on the right before trying and failing to get up and down from the sand. On the three occasions Woods has made a birdie today, he has followed it with a bogey.
CLOSE PALS WOODS AND THOMAS BOTH LEVEL
Woods' par on the 13th keeps him level par and that is the same score as playing partner Justin Thomas who has rallied from +3 after eight holes. The pair have regularly been seen smiling and chatting as they walk around the course with Woods looking painfree and relaxed on his comeback from ankle surgery.
WOODS MAKES HIS FOURTH BIRDIE BEFORE HOOKED DRIVE
Woods taps in from four foot for a birdie 3 at the short 310-yard par four 14th after just missing the green on the right with his driver. It has left him -1 for the day but he is in trouble off the tee at the par 5 15th after pulling his drive well left in his worst shot of the day so far.
SKY FORCED TO APOLOGISE AFTER WOODS DROPS F BOMB
Woods' competitive return has been impressive but he has run into big trouble at the par 5 15th after hooking his tee shot into a bush. Woods opted not to take a penalty drop but could only move his ball a few inches as the golfer and tournament host cursed: "f***", which prompted Sky host Henni Koyack to apologise to viewers.
WOODS SLIPS TO +1 AFTER DOUBLE BOGEY ON 15TH
Woods continued his trend of following all four of his birdies today with a dropped shot at the next and he even managed to drop two on the par five 15th after finding trouble left off the tee en-route to a double bogey seven.
Relatable. pic.twitter.com/K8JqO39R8WNovember 30, 2023
WOODS DROPS ANOTHER SHOT ON THE 16TH
Woods' round is starting to unravel now after dropping a third shot in two holes. It has seen him slip to +2 for the round and to tied 17th in the field with only Wyndham Clark and Will Zalatoris behind in the 20-man event. Of course that is no disgrace in just Woods' eighth competitive event since his car accident in 2021 but it may not be enough to satisfy the natural born winner who wants to be at the top of the leaderboard.
WOODS SLIPS TO +3 AND 18TH IN THE FIELD AFTER THREE PUTT
Woods' woes have continued at the short par three 17th where he three putted to drop his fourth shot in three holes as the American starts to struggle towards the finish line in his first event back since ankle surgery following the Masters.
WOODS WILL HAVE BIRDIE PUTT AT LAST
Tiger has stopped the rot on the 18th it appears where he found the green in regulation with a nine iron from 166 yards as he bids to end a run of four dropped shots in three holes.
WOODS TAPS IN FOR A +3 ROUND OF 75
Tiger has holed out for a +3 over round of 75 with a par at the last after his birdie effort slid by. The 15-time Major winner has embraced his playing partner Justin Thomas who declared : "you did great out there". Woods only hit six of 13 fairways but putted well before some fatigue seemingly set in on the closing holes as Woods slipped from -1 after 11 holes to +3.
"Who needs an ice bath more?" "Me." @TigerWoods and @JustinThomas34 are having some fun in the Bahamas 😂 pic.twitter.com/irJT2lHkiyNovember 30, 2023