Tiger Woods returns

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Rachel Nelson, Reporter

Tiger Woods makes his long-awaited return after having a fourth back surgery. Woods came back after not competing in 301 days, since he had pulled out of the Dubai Desert Classic back in February of 2016.

At the Hero World Challenge, which took place December 1-3, Woods played three below-70 rounds to tie for ninth place in the competition of 18 men.

I was a little frustrated with my iron game; that has been the hallmark of my career. It’s still surprising how far I’m hitting it, and I have to make those adjustments,” said Woods to CNN. 

Just a few months ago, Woods wasn’t sure if he would ever play competitive golf again, but now he is already planning out his road to the majors.

While he finished only 10 strokes behind the tournaments winner, Rickie Fowler, Woods’ eight under par total was enough to beat world number 1 Dustin Johnson, FedEx Cup winner and world number 3, Justin Thomas, and US Open champion Brooks Koepka.

Woods performance lifted him from 1,199th place to 668th in the world golf rankings. More crucially, the 41-year-old was swinging his clubs freely, no sign of back pain that has bothered him in recent years.

He had a vertebrae fusion in his lower back in April, and admitted before the Bahamas event that he didn’t know how he was going to play. Even so, he tied for the lead twice on Friday, more often than not out driving his younger playing partners.

Even though this wasn’t a full-field event and it was played on a somewhat easy course, with five par 5s on the Albany track, there is a sense of something different about Woods latest comeback.

On Saturday, with the exception of a rough patch, he was four over in his front nine while playing in windy conditions. He seemed to be in control of his game and showed some signs of the old Woods that made him into, as many would consider, the greatest player of all time.

“I don’t think he should have come back, I am not really a fan of him. I do think that he’s a good golfer, but he should have stayed out with his injuries,” said Morgan McNulty (‘18).