Tiger Woods comeback: The latest news and talk surrounding Tiger Woods' latest return to competitive golf
Tiger Woods officially returned to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge on Nov. 30, but this has been a comeback months in the making. We've documented all the key developments along the way and will continue to update this post with the latest news and talk surrounding Tiger's comeback as it happens.
Nov. 30: Woods fires a three-under 69 in his first official round in 301 days. After, Woods admitted he wasn't sure how he would do, but once he got rolling, his confidence came back. "It was nice to not only get the first round out of the way," Woods said, "but I'm only three shots out of the lead." Watch his opening tee shot that sailed 30 yards past playing partner Justin Thomas, his opening birdie that was set up by a laser 2-iron from 260 yards, and read a full recap of his round.
Nov. 29: Tiger Woods plays Wednesday's pro-am as a final tuneup before Thursday's first round. The reviews are mostly solid with Woods shooting somewhere under par and making this eagle on the 340-yard seventh hole after driving the green:
Most impressively, Woods only missed one fairway. And more importantly, we're getting really close, people. . .
Nov. 28: A happy and excited Tiger has his pre-tournament press conference. Woods gushed about his health:
"I feel fantastic. I didn't realize how bad my back was. Not that I'm feeling the way I'm feeling, it's hard to believe I was living the way I was living."
But he also urged people to temper their expectations:
"Let me play this event and see what I can and can't do."
Nov. 27: Tiger Woods plays nine holes with Patrick Reed. Although there are differing reports on Woods' score (some have him as low as four under), there's no doubt he impressed the young American.
"If [he] stays healthy . . . I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back and started winning a lot of tournaments again," Reed said. "If he stays healthy."
Nov. 26: Tiger Woods plays a quick, pain-free practice round at the Albany course ahead of the Hero World Challenge. Woods had caddie Joe LaCava on hand and rode a cart during the session, which took just two hours and 10 minutes.
“I am a little surprised,” Woods told Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard. “The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable.”
The tournament also shared this video of Woods' swing:
Nov. 25: Brad Faxon, the fourth member of the President Trump-Tiger Woods-Dustin-Johnson group from Friday, shares details of Friday's round with Golfweek. "Tiger looked great to me," Faxon, an eight-time PGA Tour winner wrote. "He was happy and, more than anything, he’s finally pain-free. The issues he had with the back the last couple of comebacks seem to be gone. He looked effortless, he looked free, he had some power."
According to Faxon, that power resulted in Woods out driving Johnson on half of the "probably 10 holes" both Woods and Johnson hit driver. Faxon didn't say what anyone in the group shot. However, he did say that he and President Trump (playing from members tees) finished their match with the Woods-Johnson tandem all square. And in addition to Tiger's pop, Faxon was also impressed with Woods' short game.
"Tiger looked like he had all the touch shots down. On the very first hole he hit a pitch shot over a bunker that looked great. Hit some tough little pitch shots, tough chip shots and hit some close. Some to gimme’ distance."
If it wasn't already, the hype machine for this comeback is full steam ahead.
Nov. 24: Woods plays golf with President Donald Trump, Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla. President Trump announced the famous foursome on Twitter:
Although details about the round weren't revealed in the immediate aftermath, several videos of Woods' swing emerged.
Deep breaths, everyone.
Nov. 22: Add Jason Day to the growing list of people bullish on Woods' return. In an interview with ABS-CBN News, the Aussie relayed what Woods told him when they spoke recently. "I did talk to him and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years . . . He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great." Day also added this: "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long. And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see."
Nov. 21: Tiger Woods winning a major championship in 2018? It's not as crazy as you might think. At least, that's the indication from Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, which has listed Woods' odds of winning at least one of the four majors next year at a respectable 20/1. For comparison, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth have the best odds at 3/2 and Rory McIlroy is close behind at 5/2, but 20/1 isn't too shabby. Of course, this doesn't mean these are Woods' true odds of winning. Vegas likes making money and it doesn't want to set the line too high just in case Woods wins. Here are more prop bets you can make for Tiger's return.
Nov. 20: As if golf fans needed another reason to get hyped for Woods' impending return, the PGA Tour released this video of Tiger's Top 10 shots. Keep in mind, they're only shots from PGA Tour-run events (no majors), but it's still one heck of a highlights package.
It even had fellow PGA Tour pros excited:
Nov. 17: Brandel Chamblee pours some cold water on Woods' impending comeback when asked if the 14-time major champ can hang with today's stars. "No is the short answer," Chamblee told Golf.com. "If you do an internet search of the greatest sports comebacks from injury, you'll get a litany of injuries. The one thing you will not get is a bad back followed by great athletic achievement."
Nov. 14: Rickie Fowler says Tiger has been hitting it "way by" him in practice rounds at Medalist Golf Club. If Tiger was hoping to temper expectations for his return, this didn't help.
Oct. 30: Woods announces he'll make his return at the Hero World Challenge Nov. 30-Dec. 3. It marks the second consecutive year he's come back from a long layoff at the event he hosts. It's also a remarkable turnaround from the pessimistic comments he made just about a month earlier at the Presidents Cup.
Oct. 25: Observers, including Ian Baker-Finch, give positive reviews after seeing Woods practice. "His swing was smooth," Baker-Finch told GolfDigest.com via phone. "He looked normal."
Oct. 23: Woods posts a slow-mo video of him hitting his patented "stinger."
A comeback seems imminent at this point.
Oct. 15: Woods posts a video of him hitting driver on a Sunday. Wearing a red golf shirt. Needless to say, people got excited:
Oct. 10: Woods hits more shots at a golf clinic he hosted in Las Vegas with Kevin Chappell. A video captured by someone in attendance shows some pretty decent clubhead swing -- and a vintage Tiger club twirl.
Oct. 7: Woods posts a video with the caption "Smooth iron shots".
And just like that, the comeback is back on.
Sept. 27: At a pre-Presidents Cup press conference, Woods, one of Team USA's assistant captains at the event, hints his comeback isn't as on track as people have been speculating. When asked if he could see a scenario in which he never returns to competitive golf, Woods replies, "Definitely."
Aug. 31: Woods posts this slo-mo video of him hitting a pitch shot.
The Tiger Woods comeback clock officially starts.
Aug. 4: Woods posts a photo of him diving for lobster in the Bahamas, an indication his back is feeling better.
May 29: Woods is arrested for DUI early in the morning on Memorial Day. It's the start of a different type of "process" than the one he usually talks about as Woods eventually gets professional help for managing pain medications and winds up pleading guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.
April 20: Woods announces he's undergone a fourth back surgery, this time, getting a fusion operation for the first time. "The surgery went well, and I'm optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain," Woods said in a statement on his website. "When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long."