Has Woods finally returned?

Professional golfer Tiger Woods shot a first round of -3 under 69 in the Hero World Challenge coming off his 4th and latest back surgery in April.

Woods has not played event since the 2017 Dubai Dessert Classic, withdrawing after a first round 77 citing recurring back issues. Woods has not been a stranger to injuries the past 10 years. He’s had three other back surgeries along with a knee replacement just to keep him going.

Woods, in today’s golf world, is considered to be past his time of dominance. Woods had one of the most impressive runs in PGA tour history and was even feared on the course at one point. With over 77 PGA Tour wins on his resume, he’s proven to be one of the best to play the game. Woods seemed well on his way to breaking the one record he still doesn’t have, the most major championships.

Woods has 14-majors and sits five majors behind golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Woods won his last major at the US Open with a bum knee in 2008. However, his career took a turn in 2009 when word began to spread of his infidelity. One by one, women from various years in the decade came forward saying that Woods had cheated with them. The once pristinely-imaged Woods was immersed in controversy with a tarnished reputation.

When Woods finally came back to golf, he’d seem to have lost that edge that made him dangerous on the course. Going winless for over two years, battling injuries and surgeries, it seemed like Woods would never be the same. Woods did, however, surge back to dominance in 2013. Woods won five different PGA tour starts and returned back to world No. 1 for a brief time. Woods appeared to be on the mend for his career. Yet once again, injury, this time in his back, seemed to send Woods back to the drawing board.

Woods has been off and on the last three seasons due to back surgeries. Between injury and swing changes, Woods has struggled to sustain solid play. In 2017, Woods has played a combined three rounds, making it difficult to really believe him when he says he’s back. As a fan of his golf game I think I speak for many of his fans when I say that we’re tired of the, “I’m back,” only to see Woods play as a shell of what he used to be. Continously, people that want to see him return to action on the golf course get extremely excited, only to be disappointed when he begins to struggle or withdraw. I, along with many others (including some tour professionals) hope this time is real.

Players such as Justin Rose told Sky Sports he was ecstatic to see Woods to return and that this was the tournament to do it.

“It’s obviously great to have Tiger back, it’s the perfect event for him to come back to,” Rose said to Sky Sports. “It’s obviously a very small field. It’s pretty low key, if there’s ever a low-key tournament for him.

World No 1. Dustin Johnson said a healthy Tiger Woods is holistically good for the game of golf.

“Tiger coming back and playing well is definitely good for the game,” Johnson said to Sky Sports when he first learned of Woods’ return. “I hope he does come back, he’s healthy and he can come back and compete. Because he’s good for the game of golf.”

We want to see the Woods back in the Sunday red he’s won so many times in throughout his career. The fist pumps that evoked fear in his competitors. The kiss of the trophy that placed another tally in the record books, because that’s what people like to see. We always want to see the best competing against the best when it comes to professional sports. Which is why we still get excited when we see Tiger, he was one of the best to ever play. We just hope come Sunday, Woods is once again the Tiger no one could keep up with.

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