Tiger Woods made his long-awaited comeback from injury at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas last week, and although the fourteen-time major winner was understandably rusty, there were certainly signs that the former world number one can get back to the top of the game. The 40-year-old carded the most birdies of anyone throughout the week, although six double bogeys, including three in the final round, meaning that Woods would finish 15gh in the 17-man field. However, the week was not about numbers for the American, and more about the bigger picture, with many golf fans hoping that Woods can finally put his troubles behind him and set about closing in on Jack Nicklaus’ major record.
As the dominant player of his generation, Woods amazed crowds with his shot making ability, however 466 days without any form of competitive action as a result of two back surgeries is bound to take its toll. Despite this, bookmakers Betway have Woods at just 3/1 to win a PGA Tour event in 2017, with many predicting that he will return to somewhere close to his best given time. At his worst, Woods struggled to walk during his recovery, and during his first tournament since his return, it was clear that it was going to be a long road back to the top.
Woods was being made to work extremely hard for pars, instead of being able to constantly attack pins as we became so accustomed to seeing. Of course, he was never going to win the tournament, with Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama eventually claiming victory, but it was certainly a chance to silence the doubters, with the offseason now just around the corner. Woods will now start the long climb from his lowly world No.898 ranking, having not played since August 23 2015, and the American aims to play a full schedule in 2017. With around 20 tournaments to look forward to, including major championships, Betway have Woods at 41/1 in the golf odds to win the PGA Championship at the Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina.
Having been part of the US 2016 Ryder Cup winning team as a vice-captain to Davis Love III, Woods has been taking confidence from his team mates success, with the likes of Zac Johnson and Steve Stricker among a whole host of compatriots hoping that the greatest player of his generation can return to his very best.