Woods just grateful to be back competing on Tour

Albany, Bahamas: Rickie Fowler summed it up best: “Nice to see the red shirt back on a Sunday”.

It was the first time in some 15 months Tiger Woods had been seen on a golf course wearing his now trademark red shirt and after four rounds he insisted he’s just grateful to be competing again despite finishing near the tail of the field on his return to competition at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Tiger Woods Tiger Woods (Credit: PGA Tour)

Woods continued to be upbeat after posting a final round 76 that including taking a double bogey at the final hole for the third occasion and end with a four-under par tally on the Albany course.

It saw Woods finish 14 shots adrift of Japan’s red-hot Hideki Matsuyama, who despite a final round 73, captured his fourth victory in the space of five events, winning by two shots with an 18-under par tally.

The 14-time Major winning Woods’ last round also included five birdies alongside three bogeys as well as two other double bogeys.

But while every one of the 17 others competitors competing in the Bahamas praised the efforts of Woods, the soon-to-be 41-year old was thrilled to have got through the biggest hurdle of his 21-year career.

“In the big picture, it feels good to be out here again, playing again and competing again, and trying to beat the best players in the world,” he said.

“I’ve missed it a lot. I am entering my 21st season and I’ve been doing this for a very long time and this stretch where I have been out of almost a year-and-a-half has been rough, and the last three years have been rough.

“I’ve had some very difficult times but I’ve had some great friends who have helped in that time to get me to this point, so I am just so thankful to be back out and playing again.”

Woods went into his first event since August 2015 with a new TaylorMade M2 driver, a fairway wood he said he found in one of the Albany sheds and a new Bridgestone golf ball.

And a look at his stats over the four days shows Woods was 10-under par over the front nine of the course but six-over par on the inward half while a check of the five par fives shows Woods to be only four-under over the four days.

“This week was pretty good and I felt like I hit the ball well but looking back I made some silly mistakes,” he said.

“I played the par fives awful taking three doubles today and I probably played the 18th in about 25-over (smiling) so that pretty much sums up the week.”

And when I asked Tiger whether in using an adjustable driver for a first time this week in his career, whether he is committed to using the TaylorMade M2 driver or can he go back to using a driver with a glued-in hosel?

“Oh, I don’t know. Bernie, that’s a great question because I don’t know that one yet. I am still testing. I am still trying to figure things out. I’m still in the process of I just settled in on a couple of things this week.”

“For instance, the 3-wood I found, I found it in the back of a shed here early in the week. It’s still new to me here, okay, so let’s just take a little time.”

Woods was heading home to his two children to continue working on his game with strong rumours he will return to competition in 2017 at the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in January.

If so, it would be Woods first appearance in the event since he and Rory McIlroy were paired together for the first two rounds in 2013.