Tiger plays Hero practice round without pain: 'Life is so much better'

By Rex HoggardNovember 26, 2017, 7:45 pm

NASSAU, Bahamas – Tiger Woods was up early on Sunday at Albany, site of this week’s Hero World Challenge, getting in some final work before his first competitive start since February.

Woods raced around the layout in 2 hours, 10 minutes riding in a golf cart and looking relaxed and fit following fusion surgery on his back in April.

“I haven’t really competed in two years, really. I haven’t really done much. I’m looking forward to competing again and finding the rhythm and the feel of playing tournament golf and just hitting shots,” said Woods, who was joined by caddie Joe LaCava on Sunday. “I haven’t really had a scorecard in my hand in a while and that’s going to be different.”

Woods, who withdrew from the European Tour’s Dubai Desert Classic with back spasms in February, played a casual round of golf with President Donald Trump, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon in South Florida on Friday.

It was another step closer to competition for Woods.


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“[Johnson is] the No. 1 player in the world. He’s been playing, I haven’t been playing,” Woods said. “It’s nice to compare my game to some of the other guys, like Dustin or Rickie [Fowler] or Rory [McIlroy]. It’s nice to do something like that and compete and have a couple little denominations [a bet] we’re playing for. I like seeing where I’m at.”

Woods, who is the host of this week’s Hero World Challenge, announced last month he planned to play the limited-field event and he’s posted various videos on social media of his swing.

Fowler told Golf.com that Woods has been driving it by him, and according to Faxon, Woods hit it by Johnson on half the holes when both players hit driver. On Sunday, Woods was asked about his swing.

“I am a little surprised,” Woods said. “The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable.”

Woods added that the recovery process from April’s surgery, his fourth procedure on his back, has been slow, but he’s been encouraged by how his body has responded.

Woods explained that his surgeon initially cleared him to start hitting putts, which had been the most difficult thing to do before the surgery, and he gradually made his way through his bag, first hitting driver just 150 yards.

“I just chipped [driver]. I was like, ‘Yep, I hit driver today,’” Woods laughed. “I’ve progressed over a few days, hitting driver a little hard and harder and harder until it was comfortable enough to hit it full. That takes time and the last thing I want to do is have any setbacks.”

As for his expectations this week at Albany, Woods said he wasn’t sure how he would play, but he is encouraged by how his body has responded the last few weeks and glad to be pain-free.

“It could be the next step, I just don’t know and that’s tough to live with. It’s been a struggle for years,” he said. “To finally come out on the good side of it, it’s exciting. I am stiffer, I’m fused. But I don’t have the pain and if I don’t have the pain, life is so much better.”

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.