Tiger Woods was back on the course for the first time in competition since April on Thursday and the rust was evident.
The 15-time major champion was up and down over his opening 18 holes at the 2023 Hero World Challenge and signed for a 3-over 75 at Albany in the Bahamas. Woods, a five-time winner and five-time runner-up at the Hero, sits in 18th place out of the 20 players at the unofficial event that benefits his TGR Foundation.
Every step Woods took forward was followed by a backward stumble. Birdies on Nos. 3, 5 and 11 were immediately followed by bogeys on Nos. 4, 6 and 12. The wheels began to fall off the round after a birdie on No. 14 as Woods compounded mistakes with a double bogey on the 15th and more needless bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17. A tap-in par on the 18th stopped the bleeding and sealed the deal for his return round.
“I hit a lot of shots,” Woods said with a laugh after his round. “I was rusty, I didn’t have my feels, conditions were tough early. I kind of hung through there and didn’t finish off my round the way I needed to and consequently, it kind of went sideways at the end.”
TIGER TRACKER: Woods’ opening round with shot-by-shot analysis
On the day Woods hit 6 out of 10 fairways and found 10 of his 18 greens in regulation with 30 putts.
Tony Finau and Brian Harman are tied atop the leaderboard after each opened with 5-under 67s on Thursday.