‘Ever played golf before, Tiger?’: Tiger Woods’ ‘return’ goes hilariously wrong at Hero
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Thanks to a frustrating bout with plantar fasciitis, Tiger Woods won’t make his long-awaited return to competition at this week’s Hero World Challenge. But he did make a return of sorts on Tuesday, one that he might want to soon forget.
Following his fiery Tuesday morning press conference, which you can read all about here, Woods took part in the Hero Shot skills competition with several other stars in the Hero field. Justin Thomas was there. So, too, was U.S. Open champ Matt Fitzpatrick, in addition to Tommy Fleetwood, Billy Horschel, Tom Kim and Max Homa.
The object of the competition was to hit a red-and-white bullseye on a small floating green 87 yards from an elevated teeing surface near the 18th hole.
Each player got six chances, with the closest-to-the-pin declared the winner after multiple rounds. Though it was windy, the first few players fared quite well, scattering their balls across the small target, with a few balls bounding into the pond.
Eventually, it was time for Woods, who is the tournament host, to take his turn. And, well, it won’t be remembered as one of his iconic performances.
Tiger’s first shot was not his best, which we can tell by his and his fellow competitors’ reactions to it. The camera didn’t show the ball flight, but, based on the laughs that followed, it’s safe to say his ball landed in the drink.
No matter, surely the next one would find the floating “putting surface.” Not so much. Woods’ second ball found the water short and right of the green.
On his third attempt, Tiger splashed down again, and at that point the minor frustration started to bubble up.
“F—,” Tiger said jokingly, “I gotta get one on land, don’t I?”
As soon as Woods took his fourth attempt, he knew it was going to come up short again. When the ball splashed, you could see some of the younger pros like Tom Kim grimacing in the awkwardness of the moment, and looking around at his compatriots to see if it was appropriate to laugh.
The veterans on the tee were the first to crack, with Fleetwood breaking the ice with a brave ribbing.
“Have you ever played golf before, Tiger?” Fleetwood remarked, sending everyone into fits of laughter, Tiger included.
With his fifth shot in the air, someone yelled “wind switched” and watched as Tiger’s ball airmailed the green.
When Woods’ sixth and final shot came up short and disappeared into the water again, Thomas joined the fun, asking the emcee of the competition, “Mike, what’s that add up to?”
Woods turned back toward his fellow pros smiling and responded, “Is that a lot, or no?”
You can watch highlights of the competition below, with Tiger’s turn beginning at the 14:22 mark.
In the end, Tiger and rest of the pros laughed it all off, and by the end of the competition, another player had provided a more positive signature moment. Facing off against Tom Kim in the finale, Fitzpatrick jarred his final shot for a walk-off hole-in-one victory, which you can check out below.