Yahoo Sports' Jay Busbee explains the long journey for 15-time major winner to return to competitive golf this weekend at the Hero World Challenge.
JAY BUSBEE: Tiger Woods is playing golf this week. It's strange how that sentence sounds both utterly familiar and completely surprising. On one hand, Woods has been at the forefront of the American sports scene for almost 30 years, a standard of excellence few in any sport have ever matched. On the other, Woods has spent most of the last few years far from the course, recovering from injuries suffered during a 2021 car wreck and rehabbing from surgery.
He hasn't played competitively since withdrawing from the 2023 Masters, shortly after making the cut, and he's played all four rounds of a major just once since 2020. This week, he'll play in the Hero World Challenge, a 20-player tournament in the Bahamas that, not coincidentally, Woods himself hosts. Woods will play in the no-cut event alongside Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, and other notables of this generation.
Later, in December, he'll tee it up with the next generation. Woods and son Charlie will compete at the PNC Championship, a parent-child tournament that's seemed to bring Woods more joy than anything else he's done on the golf course.
So what can we expect from Woods? With anyone else, we'd say not much. But this is, after all, a guy who won the US Open on a broken leg and won the Masters after an 11-year major-less drought. Realistically, though, Woods has spent this year recovering from surgery last spring to fuse his ankle, and he said that the fallout from the injuries he suffered in that car wreck will be life-long.
He's been a ghost for most of 2023, showing up randomly and unexpectedly, hitting a few golf balls at a range here, caddying for son Charlie there. He's mostly been consolidating his power behind the scenes. He's taken an active voice in reshaping the PGA TOUR, in the middle of its ongoing dance with LIV Golf. He's also helped create an indoor golf league, although that project has been tabled for a year, after a disastrous accident at its arena.
He's preparing for a life after golf, whenever that may come. Tiger Woods is playing golf this week. One way or another, we won't be able to say that for much longer. So enjoy these moments while they last. For Yahoo! Sports, I'm Jay Busbee.