Tiger Woods ‘ecstatic’ after golf return at Hero World Challenge, optimistic on PGA Tour future

Tiger Woods completed his first PGA Tour event since playing in the Masters at the Hero World Challenge. He finished at even par after he fired off a final round 72 Sunday.

This week was a test to see what Woods’ body could withstand after he had his ankle fused earlier this year. After his round on Sunday, the Big Cat was thrilled with how the week progressed.

“I’m ecstatic how the week turned out,” Woods said after his round.

“I haven’t done this in a long time, so it was fun to feel that again,” Woods said. “Every day, I got faster into the round. The first day took me a while to get a handle on it, second day was faster, today was right away. When I play on a regular basis, that’s normally how it is. It takes me usually during warmup before I get a feel for the round.”

Before he played 72 holes, Woods said a tournament a month is the goal for 2024 if his body could hold up. Now that the week is over, the 15-time major champion has a better idea about his future schedule.

“I think that I can get into the rhythm of it. I think that having a couple of weeks off to recover, a week to build up, there’s no reason why I can’t get into that rhythm,” Woods said. “I feel like my game’s not that far off, but I need to get in better shape.”

On the week, he went 75-70-71-72. Woods had bright moments and overall was happy with his performance.

“I drove it on pretty much a string all week,” he said. “Granted, these fairways are big. I felt like I had my ball speed up, which was nice, and I was hitting the middle of the face the entire week. It’s not like I have to go and find something the next few weeks or into next year; what I’ve been working on is right there and maybe tighten up a little bit.”

The area of his game where he felt like he struggled was around and on the greens.

“Every time you come here, everybody says the same thing around this place; it’s one of the most difficult golf courses we come to with grain and having to chip the ball up with the holes running away from you,” Woods said.

This week, he recorded 19 birdies, 36 pars, 15 bogeys, and two doubles.

“Sam and I were talking about it today. You use 3-wood, 4-iron, 5-wood, hybrid. He was talking about using pitching wedge instead of a 60. These are all weird things that we don’t normally see, right? It’s normally just a lob wedge, and go hack it out, but this is a different golf course around the greens.”

Woods won’t take much time off. He and his son Charlie will play at the PNC Championship in two weeks. The 82-time PGA Tour winner can use a golf cart, but if he doesn’t, it could be a tell-tale sign of where it’s all at for him.

Savannah Leigh Richardson is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow her on Twitter @SportsGirlSL and Instagram @savannah_leigh_sports for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

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