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Golf Monthly
Golf Monthly
Mike Hall

Tiger Woods Paired With Justin Thomas For Hero World Challenge Return

Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club.

Tiger Woods’ long-awaited return to competitive action will see him paired with one of his closest friends, Justin Thomas, during the opening round of the Hero World Challenge.

Two-time Major winner Thomas is making his first PGA Tour start since September's Fortinet Championship, While Woods is making his first appearance since undergoing ankle surgery in April.

The 15-time Major winner will hope to avoid the controversy he became embroiled in the last time he and Thomas were paired. At February's Genesis Invitational, he handed his friend a tampon, a prank that provoked a backlash which eventually led to Woods apologising.

While all eyes will be on Woods when he and Thomas begin their challenges at 11.52 ET at Albany, there are some attractive pairings elsewhere in the 20-player field.

Play will begin over an hour earlier, at 10.46am, with Open champion Brian Harman and Lucas Glover going out first. Other notable pairings include former US Open champions Matt Fitzpatrick and Justin Rose, who tee it up at 11.30am, while World No.1 Scottie Scheffler is paired with Sam Burns, with the duo getting underway at 11.41am.

Scottie Scheffler is paired with Sam Burns in round one of the Hero World Challenge (Image credit: Getty Images)

After Woods begins his round, another player returning to action after seven months out, Will Zalatoris, will play alongside Jordan Spieth at 12.14pm, with Max Homa and Viktor Hovland going out last at 12.25pm.

As for Woods, the 47-year-old will be making his first start since limping out of The Masters during the third round at Augusta National. Days after that, it was announced that he had undergone the subtalar fusion procedure on his right ankle, with no date specified for a comeback at that time.

However, in recent months he has been stepping up his preparations for a return, and, earlier in November, announced after caddying for son Charlie on all four days of his appearance at the Notah Begay III Junior Golf National Championship that he is now pain-free following the surgery.

That raised expectations that he would make a return sooner rather than later, and earlier in November, it was confirmed he would play at the Hero World Challenge, which he hosts, and the PNC Championship in December.

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Hero World Challenge Tee Times: Round One

  • Round One - ET (GMT)
  • 10.46am (3.46pm) - Brian Harman, Lucas Glover
  • 10.57am (3.57pm) - Cameron Young, Sepp Straka
  • 11.08am (4.08pm) - Tony Finau, Wyndham Clark
  • 11.19am (4.19pm) - Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler
  • 11.30am (4.30pm) - Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose
  • 11.41am (4.41pm) - Sam Burns, Scottie Scheffler
  • 11.52am (4.52pm) - Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas
  • 12.03pm (5.03pm) - Jason Day, Collin Morikawa
  • 12.14pm (5.14pm) - Will Zalatoris, Jordan Spieth
  • 12.25pm (5.25pm) - Max Homa, Viktor Hovland
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