Sixteen months after he last played competitive golf, the best known player of the current generation, Tiger Woods, who owns 14 Majors and 79 PGA Tour titles, is ready to return to competitive golf, at his very own tournament, the Hero World Challenge from December 1-4 at the challenging par-72, 7,303-yard Albany in The Bahamas.
Looking fitter and leaner and at his best in recent years, Tiger played nine holes with Justin Rose and another nine with baseball legend, Derek Jeter and then added a couple of hours testing his short game. He was all sweaty but pleased with his return and now only he needs to test his game in tournament conditions.
Rose gave him a positive certificate, saying, “We’ve played on Tuesday in a 20mph plus breeze and it’s quite an unforgiving wind but the quality of Tiger’s play has been pretty good. If he wanted to test his game then these conditions, given as tough as they are, is a good test and he’s clearly driven the ball very, very well.!”
Tiger will be playing alongside a world-class field of 18 elite players, which include all three Olympic medallists and a host of Major champions and two of the hottest players of 2016 – Dustin Johnson, who at No. 3 is also the highest ranked player in the field, and Hideki Matsuyama, the first highest-ever ranked Japanese player, who has won four times in 2016, and not finished outside Top-5 in his last five starts that include three wins.
“I am excited to make my return at the Hero World Challenge at Albany and play in this terrific tournament,” Woods said. “This is our 18th year, and every year we put together a top field that showcases the best golfers from the previous season. Albany is an outstanding setting, and I can’t thank Hero MotoCorp enough for their support of the tournament and my foundation.”
The field includes the defending champion Bubba Watson, who came into the 2015 edition only after getting a spot via an exemption that opened up just weeks before the tournament. He went on to win by three shots. The field includes 13 of the top 25 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, three major championship winners from 2016, the Rio Olympics’ gold, silver and bronze medalists, and 12 players who competed in October’s Ryder Cup.
The Hero World Challenge is a four-round, 72-hole stroke play event with a $3.5 million purse, a $1 million winner’s prize and Official World Golf Ranking points awarded.