Tiger Woods nearly drives first green in The Match, makes easy birdie

Tiger Woods opening tee shot at The Match.


In case you were wondering if Tiger Woods has lost any speed after his injuries and not playing for five months, he hasn’t.

Woods exhibited plenty of pop with his opening swing in the The Match VII, giving his tee ball at the short par-4 1st at Pelican GC a mighty lash that left him short of the green.

The broadcast showed Woods’ ball speed was clocked at 178 mph.

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Woods’ partner, Rory McIlroy, had already pushed his tee shot hole high right but was left with a difficult pitch into a blazing-fast green. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas were also both just short of green, and Thomas bumped his ball within gimme range.

After McIlroy couldn’t hold his pitch near the pin, it was up to Woods to match Thomas to keep the match tied after one.

His chip came up about six feet short, but Woods calmly stepped up and nailed the birdie putt.

“Welcome back,” Woods said after being congratulated by broadcaster Brian Anderson.

Clearly, Woods’ injuries still allow him to swing the club at Tour-level speeds, but he did admit his 13-year-old son Charlie recently outdrove him on the golf course for the first time.

Spieth and Thomas quickly crashed the welcome-back party on the next three holes as each made long birdie putts to take a 3-up lead over Woods and McIlroy through four holes.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.