NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods stepped to the par-4 seventh tee Sunday afternoon, grabbed his driver and took a mighty lash. The ball landed on the green, and just minutes later, Woods was raising his arms triumphantly after his second eagle of the Hero World Challenge.
If that was the highlight of Woods’ return to tournament golf after a 10-month layoff, the takeaway was that he appears healthy and ready to compete with the game’s elite players in the next year.
Woods posted three under-par rounds for the week, including a final-round 4-under 68 that featured his eagle on No. 7 and a half-dozen birdies.
He finished in a share of ninth place in the 18-man field, 10 strokes behind winner Rickie Fowler.
“I’m excited,” Woods said afterward. “This is the way I’ve been playing at home, and when I came out here and played, I was playing very similar to this. Not quite hitting it as far, but I had the adrenaline going and overall, I’m very pleased.”
For the final round, Woods missed two of 13 fairways off the tee and hit 13 of 18 greens in regulation. Perhaps just as impressive, his swing speed matched or exceeded that of several young stars in the field, including final-round playing partner Justin Thomas‘.
Following a flawless front-nine 31, Woods stumbled with a sloppy double-bogey on the 10th hole. He added three birdies on the back nine but closed poorly, with bogeys on the final two holes.
Woods has been mum about his upcoming schedule, though if he continues to play his usual events, his next tournament could be at Torrey Pines in late January for the Farmers Insurance Open.
After the round, though, Woods remained noncommittal.
“I think we’ll sit back and try to figure that out,” he said. “I don’t know what my schedule’s going to be, but my expectations are we’ll be playing next year. How many? Where? I don’t know yet, but we’ll figure it out.”