Tiger Woods says he’s returning in 2 weeks, will play his own event

Tiger Woods smiles at the Masters.

Tiger Woods has committed to the Hero World Challenge.

Getty Images

After holding a spot for “TBD tournament exemption” when the initial field list was released for the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods has filled that slot with his own name. Woods announced Saturday he will make a return to competitive golf for the first time since April at the Hero World Challenge at the end of the month in the Bahamas.

Wait? Haven’t we seen this before?

Woods made the same moves last year, holding a spot in the elite 20-man field, then committing to the event, before withdrawing Monday of tournament week because of plantar fasciitis. Hopefully for him, he does not repeat the third step in that process.

He was onsite at Albany Golf Club last December and then made just his fourth PGA Tour start since 2020 two months later at the Genesis Invitational, which he also hosts. At the Genesis, Woods made the cut and completed all 72 holes for just the second time since making an initial return from a devastating February 2021 single-car crash in which he sustained severe injuries to his right leg and foot.

Woods made one more start in 2023 at the Masters. However, Woods withdrew midway through the third round at Augusta citing his injured right leg. A few days later, he underwent a subtalar fusion procedure to alleviate pain from an arthritic condition that developed after his previous surgeries.

Since the latest surgery, Woods has had just a handful of public appearances and even fewer where he was seen hitting golf balls. However, on the day of the announcement of his TGL franchise name and ownership, he told the Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson his surgically repaired ankle was pain-free.

Tiger Woods hits a shot during the 2023 Masters.
Tiger Woods says surgically-repaired ankle is pain-free, but there’s a caveat
By: Jack Hirsh

“My ankle is fine,” Woods told the AP. “Where they fused my ankle, I have absolutely zero issue whatsoever. That pain is completely gone. It’s the other areas that have been compensated for.”

That was just over a week ago when rumblings were already circling the golf world about his impending return.

Speaking to Golf Channel, major champion Stewart Cink said the two spoke at the World Wide Technology Championship and Woods said he was in “go-mode.” Cameras also caught pictures and videos of Woods caddying for his son Charlie in junior tournaments.

Stars pull out

Woods wasn’t the only name to be added to the Hero field. After announcing an initial field of 19 golfers, two additional players, Lucas Glover and Justin Rose, were added to the field as well. The field remains at 20 pros as Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele were quietly dropped from the commit list.

Schauffele has been a regular at Albany the past few years, while Cantlay was set to make his first appearance at the Hero since 2019.

Xander schauffele at the 2023 Ryder Cup
Report: Schauffele, Cantlay’s Ryder Cup gripe drew PGA of America threat
By: Josh Berhow

Cantlay was the center of controversy at the Ryder Cup in Rome seven weeks ago when a report from Sky Sports claimed he and Schauffele had divided the U.S. team locker room over the issue of player pay. The report also claimed Cantlay chose to be hatless out of protest that week.

The controversy was only further fueled when Schauffele’s father, Stephen told The Times the two were nearly removed from the Ryder Cup roster over a contract dispute.

Cantlay made headlines again this past week when Rory McIlroy told the Irish Independent his relationship with Cantlay, then a fellow PGA Tour player director, was “average at best” and they “see the world quite differently.” McIlroy sent shockwaves through the golf world a few days later when he announced his resignation from the PGA Tour policy board.

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 recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also 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 a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.

 

 

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