The greatest golfer who ever lived teed it up Thursday after a 301-day layoff.
Tiger Woods hosts the Hero World Challenge golf tournament in the Bahamas. The Golf Channel devoted a full hour of pre-tournament coverage for this nondescript, silly-season golf event — and Tiger was the reason. This is the first meaningful golf event since the President’s Cup back in September.
Let the record show that Tiger teed off at 12:07 Eastern Standard time, in the Year of Our Lord 2017.
1st hole: Solidly stuck drive that got a favorable kick to stay in fairway. Decent approach from 100 yards and a missed 20 foot birdie putt. PAR
2nd hole: Well-struck 8-iron to the 180 yard par 3. Twenty-foot birdie putt just misses. He’s now 2/2 in greens in regulation (GIR). PAR
3rd hole: Great drive, better approach to reach the par 5 in two shots. Great lag putt and then easy birdie tap in takes Tiger to one under. I think for this comeback he should eschew the nickname Tiger and go by Eldrick until he fully earns the Tiger moniker. BIRDIE
4th hole: After an indifferent tee shot, his approach gets caught in the wind and he is off the green. Chipping has been an issue in the recent past and he chunks his chip leaving it off the green in the fringe but he rolls the putt in and we get the infamous Tiger fist bump. PAR
5th hole: Another fairway and green. PAR
6th hole: Bunker off the tee and a routine par. Easy hole though as it’s a short par 5. PAR
7th hole: His drive lands in a bunker on the driveable par 4. He plays a very poor sand shot and 2 putts for par. Short game is definitely showing some rust. If this was the Masters, Tiger would be really struggling. PAR
8th hole: Good drive, decent approach and nails the 25 footer for birdie! BIRDIE
9th hole: Chunks another chip and makes bogey on the easiest hole on the course. BOGEY
10th hole: Massive bounce back with birdie at 10. He’s the first player in the field to birdie the hole. His putting has been solid and enabling him to have a good round. BIRDIE
11th hole: Crushed drive down the middle again. Bad 3 iron from the fairway and another shaky pitch shot. Terrible lag putt with a loud “g*dam*t!” for emphasis. Nobody has ever cussed on a golf course like Tiger. He could make welders blush. He makes the ten-foot comebacker to save par though. PAR
12th hole: Par 3 tee shot with 6 iron. It’s poorly struck and he slams the club down without cussing though to his credit. Hits a nice chip shot and saves par. PAR
13th hole: Good drive, good approach and a great putt. BIRDIE
14th hole: Tiger hits approach within three feet for an easy birdie. BIRDIE
15th hole: Blocks his driver into the waste area and has to take penalty. He takes a bogey on an easy par 5. That hurt. BOGEY
16th hole: Good drive, great approach but just misses birdie putt. PAR
17th hole: Routine par on the easy par 3. PAR
18th hole: Good drive, indifferent approach. Tiger makes a great par-saving putt after a poor lag putt. PAR
All that was good enough for a round of 3 under 69. Tiger said it best when asked by Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis how he played. He simply responded, “I thought I did great.”
He definitely did play great when you consider the expectations and the pressure. That said, this was a very easy course that was able to hide a very poor short game. On a tricky, fast course like Augusta, it could have been ugly. Still it was fun to see Tiger out there and able to swing away without pain. We shall see whether Eldrick or Tiger shows up for the 2018 golf season.
Dan Redmond can be found on Twitter @danfromdc.