SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Steve DiMeglio discusses Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge.
USA TODAY Sports
Tiger Woods made his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge on Thursday with a 3-under 69 at Albany Golf Course in New Providence, Bahamas.
He begins Friday just three off the lead with a real chance to make a big impression in his first start in 10 months.
Follow our Tiger Tracker here to get a constantly updated shot-by-shot account of his round as he looks to make more noise. Here we go:
HOLE No. 15: Par 5, 548 Yards
Off the tee (2:34 p.m. ET): Tiger gets revenge. He bombs one down the fairway a day after losing one way right and taking an unplayable here. That one carried 290 yards and had to overall go 310 or so. This is a green-lighter for going for it in two.
Approach shot (2:40 p.m. ET): A solid 4-iron. It comes up short of the green on the right side, but he’ll have a good chance to get that down in two for birdie.
Around the green (2:46 p.m. ET): Wow. Tiger putts that one some 15 feet by the hole. His speed has been REALLY off at times today on the greens. That was a prime example there.
HOLE No. 14: Par 4, 280 Yards
Off the tee (2:25 p.m. ET): Tiger lays up here. Remember, he did the same thing yesterday and got himself a tap-in birdie. Perfect position on lay-up drive today.
Approach shot (2:29 p.m. ET): From 84 yards, Tiger spins it back to about 20 feet left and beyond the hole. This will be a decent birdie look.
On the green (2:31 p.m. ET): That one was always low. The ball falls off to the left and Tiger taps in for par.
Tiger on the day: 5 under thru 14 (T-2)
HOLE No. 13: Par 4, 483 Yards
Off the tee (2:15 p.m. ET): Well, Tiger is mad (he’s out of the lead entirely after Hoffman birdies to move to 9 under). He HAMMERS one down the fairway here. He’s going to just have a wedge in.
Approach shot (2:18 p.m. ET): It’s a sand wedge from 134 yards and it’s a little bit deep. He’ll have about 20 feet from beyond the hole for birdie.
On the green (2:22 p.m. ET): Tiger just misses on his birdie effort, but that par actually gets him back into the lead when Hoffman bogeys at No. 12.
Tiger on the day: 5 under thru 13 (T-1)
HOLE No. 12: Par 3, 202 Yards
Off the tee (2:04 p.m. ET): A pretty solid shot. That one lands probably about 10 feet left and ends up some 25 feet away. Should be a nice par, but he could still make birdie.
On the green (2:08 p.m. ET): That first putt was AWFUL. Bad read, even worse speed, as it misses well left and runs 10 feet by. He misses left on his following putt and that’s a three-jack for his first bogey of the day.
Tiger on the day: 5 under thru 12 (T-1)
HOLE No. 11: Par 5, 589 Yards
Off the tee (1:52 p.m. ET): Another great tee ball. This one’s down the fairway and Tiger can go for this one in two.
Approach shot (1:55 p.m. ET): This was not as good as his one at No. 9, as the ball leaks right and misses the green. The ball is in a low area right, but Tiger will have plenty of green to work with from there. Birdie still very plausible.
Around the green (1:59 p.m. ET): Tiger nearly jars his EAGLE chip and oh my, would that have been a frenzy. Well, he’s going to have a tap-in for birdie to take back the outright lead.
On the green (2 p.m. ET): Tiger cleans up and he’s now 9 under and back in front alone!
Tiger on the day: 6 under thru 11 (1st)
HOLE No. 10: Par 4, 435 Yards
Off the tee (1:38 p.m. ET): Tiger’s stats on the front nine were 4/7 fairways, 6/9 greens and 11 putts. He finds another fairway at the 10th and should have a mid-iron in.
Approach shot (1:42 p.m. ET): Not his best. Tiger appeared to be possibly fooled by the wind there as he hit a good shot but it comes up short of the green. It shouldn’t be a tough up and down, though.
Around the green (1:45 p.m. ET): That’s a pretty chip that Tiger gets to tap-in range. His short-game woes from yesterday appear to be gone for now.
On the green (1:46 p.m. ET): Tiger indeed knocks in the 2-footer for par.
Tiger on the day: 5 under thru 10 (T-1)
HOLE No. 9: Par 5, 603 Yards
Off the tee (1:24 p.m. ET): Tiger picks up his tee as he likes this one. Appears to be right down the fairway!
Approach shot (1:28 p.m. ET): WHAT. A. SHOT. From 271 yards out, Tiger blasts a fairway wood right over the flag 20 feet beyond the hole. He’ll have that for eagle to move to 8 under and take the outright lead!
On the green (1:34 p.m. ET): YEAH BABY! Drain-o. Eagle. Outright leader. This is amazing.
Tiger on the day: 5 under thru 9 (1st)
HOLE No. 8: Par 3, 216 Yards
Off the tee (1:16 p.m. ET): He seemed to like it, but the ball is a touch left and comes up short. Tiger is down in a hollow left of the green and will be short sided for upcoming chip. Can he make another tough up and down?
Around the green (1:19 p.m. ET): That was marvelous. Tiger plays that pitch perfectly and it ends up 4 feet past the hole. He made a difficult shot look pretty easy.
On the green (1:20 p.m. ET): THe rolls in the speedy short putt. Another par save. Tiger is grinding hard here.
Tiger on the day: 3 under thru 8 (T-3)
HOLE No. 7: Par 4, 350 Yards
Off the tee (1:03 p.m. ET): It looked like Tiger would go with driver to try to drive the green, but he then switched to an iron. Prudent, but it doesn’t work out, as Tiger makes bad swing into left rough. That’s a mediocre lay up off the tee, and he may’ve lost a chance already at this clear birdie hole.
Approach shot (1:05 p.m. ET): Oof. Tiger hits his second into the greenside bunker and this will be quite a testy shot.
Around the green (1:08 p.m. ET): That was pretty. Tiger blasts out to about 5 feet and could escape with par after playing poorly from tee to green this hole.
On the green (1:10 p.m. ET): Tiger buried the putt. He makes yet another testy par save. It’s good to see, but that’s now consecutive holes and three already. He probably can’t keep doing that all day.
Tiger on the day: 3 under thru 7 (T-3)
HOLE No. 6: Par 5, 595 Yards
Off the tee (12:45 p.m. ET): This was not ideal. Tiger finally misses a drive, as this one ends up in the left rough. Not too bad, though, and the ball is sitting up. Probably a lay up with this hole into the wind.
Second shot (12:48 p.m. ET): Tiger indeed lays up here, appears to be in decent position for his third.
Third shot (12:52 p.m. ET): He tugs his third shot and actually misses the green left. But Tiger is on the fringe, seems like he should still make par or better.
Around the green (12:57 p.m. ET): Tiger lets this one go 5 feet by the hole. That’s left for par.
On the greens (12:59 p.m. ET): Tiger cozies that one right in. Another par-5 bogey would’ve been a disaster, but Tiger looks SO solid.
Tiger on the day: 3 under thru 6 (third)
HOLE No. 5: Par 3, 180 Yards
Off the tee (12:37 p.m. ET): Another great shot. Tiger knocks the flag down here and the ball ends up some 12-15 feet left of the hole. We could have four birdies in five holes…
On the green (12:40 p.m. ET): So, so close. Woods’ birdie putt hits the right lip and scurries on by. It’s an easy par, but we were so close to another birdie and Tiger taking the outright lead.
Tiger on the day: 3 under thru 5 (T-1)
HOLE No. 4: Par 4, 489 Yards
Off the tee (12:27 p.m. ET): Are we watching 2000 Tiger off the tee? Another perfect blast down the middle. If he continues to drive it like he has so far this week, we are in for quite something.
Second shot (12:30 p.m. ET): Tiger flags this one! It ends up 4 feet above the hole. That left for birdie to tie the lead…
On the green (12:32 p.m. ET): TIGER WOODS IS TIED FOR THE LEAD! He slides that left-to-righter in and oh my, we’re going to lose it soon! Tiger tied on top at 6 under!
Tiger on the day: 3 under thru 4 (T-1)
HOLE No. 3: Par 5, 572 Yards
Off the tee (12:09 p.m. ET): Tiger pures a drive down the third fairway. It carried 279 yards and probably went about 300 overall. One gallery member appeared to yell, “He’s back.” Not too far off from agreeing…
Second shot (12:15 p.m. ET): Oh yeah, he’s feeling it! Tiger club twirls this one and the ball ends up in front of the green. A great shot at birdie.
Around the green (12:17 p.m. ET): Tiger putts this one about 5 feet past, maybe a little bit more. But still a great birdie chance.
On the green (12:19 p.m. ET): And Tiger buries it! He’s now 5 under and one back after his second birdie in three holes.
Tiger on the day: 2 under thru 3 (T-2)
HOLE No. 2: Par 3, 187 Yards
Off the tee (11:57 a.m. ET): A solid one here. He finds the green, and hits it pin high to about 30 feet.
On the green (12:02 p.m. ET): Tiger’s first putt goes about 5 feet by, but he knocks in the comebacker for a two-putt par.
Tiger on the day: 1 under thru 2 (T-4)
HOLE No. 1: Par 4, 423 Yards
Off the tee (11:43 a.m. ET): Tiger’s opening drive today is a beauty. He finds the fairway again, but this time there’s no luck needed. This was perfect down the left-center of the fairway.
Approach shot (11:49 a.m. ET): After a 335-yard opening drive, Tiger had 96 yards on his second. He stuffs that to about 5 feet! We could be in for an opening birdie!
On the green (11:54 a.m. ET): He walked that one right in! AN OPENING BIRDIE!
Tiger on the day: 1 under thru 1 (T-4)
Tiger is on the premises. Let’s get ready!