Tiger Woods Almost Ready for Primetime

Hideki Matsuyama, Tiger Woods
The Associated Press

Tiger Woods has plenty to be optimistic about after his performance over the weekend at the Hero World Challenge, where he staged his comeback from a 16-month layoff due to back surgeries.

Although Tiger finished 15th in an 18-man-field at four-under par for the tournament, the former World’s #1 golfer showed signs of his old self including shooting a seven under 65 on Friday.

Woods, who holds 14 major championships and 79 PGA wins, entered Sunday’s round in the middle of the pack at eight-under. Despite registering an impressive five birdies, he sprayed his driver on a number of holes forcing three double bogeys including two on par fives, normally easy scoring opportunities for Tiger.

The overall outlook for the 41-year-old golf icon remains very positive. Other than the errant drives Woods hit a ton of prodigious ones measuring well over 300 yards, which found the heart of the fairway.

Woods’ putter served him well over the four days at the Bahaman resort in Albany. The two-time winner of the Hero World Challenge drained a number of putts setting up 24 birdies for the tournament. Tiger had a stellar chipping game, unlike when he returned from his layoff for knee surgery. At the Hero World Challenge in 2014, Woods stunned the golf world when he chunked several relatively easy chip shots — chili-dipping his Nike ball only a few feet at times. Before then, “the yips” and Tiger never appeared in the same sentence.

Woods, well known for his soldier-like work ethic, continues to work with swing coach Chris Como. His latest swing iteration is relaxed, balanced, and much less taxing on his vulnerable lower back. On top of that, Woods appeared extra-lean and showed tremendous flexibility as he aggressively attacked the 7,300-yard golf course. All of this bodes well for the legendary golfer who sat on top of golf’s world ranking for well over a decade. Woods stated in an interview with NBC/Golf Channel he expects to win more Major championships and still plans to depose Jack Nicklaus as the all-time record holder with 18.

Two-time Major champion and sixth-place finisher on Sunday Jordan Spieth said that “It looks like he’s going to be back,” referring to Woods. “That’s really exciting for us and for golf … He can truly help get the numbers back up in golf.”

Twenty-four-year-old Japanese golfer Hideki Matsuyama won the Hero World Championship cruising in on Sunday with a 73, 18 under for the tournament, good enough to eclipse Swedish professional Henrik Stenson by two shots who came in second.

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