Tiger Woods knows how to create excitement, and he did just that with an opening 3-under 69 at the Hero World Challenge.
Woods made his competitive return to golf Thursday at Albany Golf Course in New Providence, and he did so with flair in finishing the round just three back when he posted in the clubhouse. While the round wasn’t perfect, there was plenty to like.
The 41-year-old got things started by hitting the green in two at the par-5 third and two-putting for birdie to move to 1 under. He then made a mess of the fourth with a poor chip but drained a 15-footer for par to stay 1 under.
A 25-footer at the eighth moved him to 2 under before a bad bogey at the par-5 ninth. Woods came back by making a 12-footer for birdie at No. 10. That moved him back to 2 under, and he made two putts inside 10 feet at the next two for par to stay 2 under.
Woods reached 4 under and was one off the lead after back-to-back birdies at Nos. 13 and 14. But just when it seemed he might reach the top, Woods hit one way right off the tee at the par-5 15th, took an unplayable and made bogey.
He would close with three straight pars, including rolling in a 5-footer at the last, to finish out his round at 3 under. For the day, Woods hit 7 of 13 fairways and 11 of 18 greens and took 27 putts.
He posted five birdies against two bogeys – both of which came at par 5s. Surprisingly, Woods was 3 under despite playing the five par 5s in 1 over.
We tracked every shot of Tiger’s opening round, catch up with everything from the day below…
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Hole No. 18: Par 4, 470 Yards
OFF THE TEE (3:57 p.m. ET): Tiger’s drive here went at the way right edge of the fairway, but it gets a nice kick and stays in. He’ll have a good look going into this green.
APPROACH SHOT (3:59 p.m. ET): With an 8-iron from 174 yards … Tiger plays a nice draw but does so too much. That was the right distance but it ends up some 25 feet left of the hole in fairway but near rough. He has a good chance to get that up and down to shoot 69.
AROUND THE GREEN (4:01 p.m. ET): Tiger chips some 5 feet by the cup. He’ll have that putt coming back for par and 69.
ON THE GREEN (4:04 p.m. ET): Nailed it! A great 3-under 69 for Tiger.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3-under 69 (T-7 at time, T-8 by day’s end)
Hole No. 17: Par 3, 184 Yards
OFF THE TEE (3:46 p.m. ET): Tiger liked this one, as it was right on line. But the ball comes up short, and he’ll be about 30 feet short of the hole in the fairway fronting the surface.
AROUND THE GREEN (3:50 p.m. ET): He actually bellies this one from in front, and that’s very well done. This one finishes a foot short of the hole, and he’ll make par.
ON THE GREEN (3:52 p.m. ET): Indeed, Tiger taps in.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 17 (T-6)
Hole No. 16: Par 4, 485 Yards
OFF THE TEE (3:33 p.m. ET): Tiger, now three back, takes a nice swing at this one, but it does leak right. He finishes in the waste area, but that one seems to be far down the hole.
APPROACH SHOT (3:40 p.m. ET): Tiger wants this one to be good … IT IS! From 142 yards in the sand, Tiger flies it some 10 yards beyond the hole and spins the ball back to some 10 feet above the hole. A bounceback birdie is possible again!
ON THE GREEN (3:43 p.m. ET): Not a bad effort, but he hit that one with too much speed and it doesn’t take the full break. The ball misses right of the cup and scurries 2 feet by. Tiger cleans up for par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 16 (T-6)
Hole No. 15: Par 5, 548 Yards
OFF THE TEE (3:14 p.m. ET): HORRIBLE swing here. Way right, Tiger even yells it’s way right. That’s in some heavy brush, and it may not be found. Tiger hits provisional down right side of fairway in case.
SECOND (THIRD) SHOT (3:22 p.m. ET): Tiger does find his original tee shot, but he’s forced to take an unplayable. That’s a penalty stroke. From the waste area, he lays up into the fairway. He’ll look to get up and down from 100 or so yards to save par.
FOURTH SHOT (3:26 p.m. ET): Woods had a blind approach shot from here and his ball ends up 20 feet left of the hole, but pin high. He has that left for par.
ON THE GREEN (3:30 p.m. ET): Another bogey on a par 5 as Tiger’s par effort trickles short and right. Somehow, he goes +1 on the par 5s today. Wow.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 15 (T-6)
Hole No. 14: Par 4, 298 Yards
OFF THE TEE (2:58 p.m. ET): Tiger lays up, but that means he’s right in the fairway. Will it pay off?
APPROACH SHOT (3:02 p.m. ET): YES! From 88 yards, Tiger stuffs this one to about 3 feet. He might be 4 under soon…
ON THE GREEN (3:08 p.m. ET): Yessir! Tiger coaxes that one in … AND OH LOOK, HE’S ONE BACK.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 4 under thru 14 (T-3)
Hole No. 13: Par 4, 483 Yards
OFF THE TEE (2:48 p.m. ET): He seemed to like this driver but it does end up in the left rough. It only did so by a few yards, though.
APPROACH SHOT (2:53 p.m. ET): From 113 yards, Tiger gets a solid to finish some 20 feet from the hole. The ball lands and barely kicks left, pure.
ON THE GREEN (2:56 p.m. ET): And ANOTHER birdie. Tiger rolls that one in the left side and he’s heating up!
TIGER ON THE DAY: 3 under thru 13 (T-5)
Hole No. 12: Par 3, 201 Yards
OFF THE TEE (2:38 p.m. ET): Tiger copies his second shot at No. 11 here, just a total flail right. He’s in the rough right of the green here. Not awful position, but it was definitely a poor shot.
AROUND THE GREEN (2:42 p.m. ET): A solid chip shot here from Tiger. Just a pretty straightforward one that rolls out to about 6 feet. A good recovery that will allow him a healthy chance at par.
ON THE GREEN (2:44 p.m. ET): Tiger easily rolls that one in. A nice par save.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under thru 12 (T-9)
Hole No. 11: Par 5, 589 Yards
OFF THE TEE (2:19 p.m. ET): That drive may have been exactly down the middle. An absolute beauty from Tiger there with driver, and he should have a go at this in two.
APPROACH SHOT (2:26 p.m. ET): Maybe Tiger’s worst full swing today. He goes at a 3-iron from 248 yards and that goes way right of where he wanted. He’s actually in the fairway around the green, but he’s short-sided with a bunker in his way. On a scale of 1-10, this is probably a 9 in difficulty for a short-game shot.
AROUND THE GREEN (2:29 p.m. ET): Tiger goes really conservative here. He knows he’s chunked a couple and deliberately hits a low one that lands some 30 feet past the pin. It scurries out to some 40 feet by the hole. That’s his birdie remainder.
ON THE GREEN (2:32 p.m. ET): His long birdie putt runs some 8 feet by the cup. His comebacker from there is true. That’s a huge par, would have been pretty demoralizing to make a second bad bogey on a par 5 in three holes.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under thru 11 (T-9)
Hole No. 10: Par 4, 435 Yards
OFF THE TEE (2:07 p.m. ET): Tiger comes right back with a beautiful 3-wood down the fairway. Maybe a bounce back birdie?
APPROACH SHOT (2:11 p.m. ET): A beauty of a shot. That’s a knockdown 7-iron from 158 yards to about 12 feet. A birdie is within reach.
ON THE GREEN (2:15 p.m. ET): That right there looked like the Tiger of old. The putt looked like it might stay left, but it takes the left-to-right break well, as Woods uses perfect speed to get that one in the left side of the cup. GREAT comeback birdie. Just what he needed.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under thru 10 (T-7)
Hole No. 9: Par 5, 603 Yards
OFF THE TEE (1:51 p.m. ET): Tiger BOMBS one down this fairway. That one carried 283 yards and appeared to roll out some 30 more. He should be able to take a lash at this one in two.
SECOND SHOT (1:55 p.m. ET): Almost his best shot of the day right there. From 282 yards, Woods blisters a 3-wood just left of the front left flag. The ball lands and almost hangs on green some 15 feet from the cup, but it does roll off low and left of the green. It appears he may have a tricky lie in or next to rough, but he can still get up and down for birdie there.
AROUND THE GREEN (1:58 p.m. ET): For the second time in six holes, Woods chunks a chip short of the green. He then had about 15 feet for birdie from off the fringe, and then raced that some 10 feet by. The first mental mistake of the day!
ON THE GREEN (2 p.m. ET): From 10 feet for par … Nope. It misses low and left. He taps in for bogey, and that’s a really bad one. Still, a solid opening nine.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 9 (T-10)
Hole No. 8: Par 3, 216 Yards
OFF THE TEE (1:43 p.m. ET): Tiger’s tee ball here does find front right part of green. He’ll have some 25-30 feet for birdie.
ON THE GREEN (1:46 p.m. ET): Only perfect. A beautiful putt that sneaks in the right side. BIRDIE.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 2 under thru 8 (T-4)
Hole No. 7: Par 4, 340 Yards
OFF THE TEE (1:23 p.m. ET): Tiger took a RIP at that one. We even got the classic Woods recoil on that driver. He tried to drive the green and he came close. It appears he’s in a left greenside bunker. This might be another opportunity to move to 2 under and within one.
AROUND THE GREEN (1:30 p.m. ET): Woods’ bunker shot comes out with no spin and races some 20 feet by the cup. Another decent birdie look, but that was disappointing.
ON THE GREEN (1:37 p.m. ET): Tiger’s birdie putt misses low and right. He taps in for par. Not ideal, but no damage done.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 7 (T-7)
Hole No. 6: Par 5, 595 Yards
OFF THE TEE (1:03 p.m. ET): Not Woods’ best. His tee shot leaks right and ends up in some of that native area sand. This hole was into the wind anyway, though, so no harm. He’ll simply lay up like he might’ve had to even with a fairway hit.
SECOND SHOT (1:09 p.m. ET): Woods lays up perfectly into the fairway. He’ll have less than 100 yards for his third shot.
THIRD SHOT (1:12 p.m. ET): Appears this one was 93 yards and Woods hits a wedge that lands 40 feet past the hole and spins back pin high. Unfortunately his aim was off and he’s 20 feet left of the hole. But it’s another birdie chance.
ON THE GREEN (1:16 p.m. ET): Tiger’s birdie putt hits the right side of the cup but with too much speed. The ball lips out and runs 3 feet by. But Woods doesn’t three-putt. He buries that and it’s another par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 6 (T-6)
Hole No. 5: Par 3, 180 Yards
OFF THE TEE (12:54 p.m. ET): Well that one wasn’t great. That one leaks and it barely catches the green (or might just be on fringe). He’ll have what looks to be some 60 feet for birdie.
ON THE GREEN (12:56 p.m. ET): A great effort on that long birdie try. It looked like it might go in for a second but misses left and rolls some 3 feet past. He calmly rolls in that comebacker. Nice par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 5 (T-5)
Hole No. 4: Par 4, 489 Yards
OFF THE TEE (12:42 p.m. ET): Another solid tee shot from Woods. His opening tee shot should’ve missed the fairway, this one should’ve found it. No bother, though. Ball just trickles into light right rough. He’ll be fine from there.
APPROACH SHOT (12:46 p.m. ET): It’s his first missed green. Woods comes up short and right as his ball doesn’t take the flyer bait out of the rough. It shouldn’t be too tough of an up and down, though.
AROUND THE GREEN (12:48 p.m. ET): Oof. Woods stubs his chip and it doesn’t even make the green. He’ll have 15 feet from the fringe for par.
ON THE GREEN (12:49 p.m. ET): HE BURIED IT!! And there was a fist pump! Yeah!!
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 4 (T-5)
Hole No. 3: Par 5, 572 Yards
OFF THE TEE (12:28 p.m. ET): Tiger pipes one down the fairway here. May we see him going for the green in two??
SECOND SHOT (12:31 p.m. ET): He yells at his ball to “Be Good!” and it is! A 2-iron from 260 yards and it finds the green! WE HAVE AN EAGLE PUTT!!
ON THE GREEN (12:36 p.m. ET): Woods two-putts and that’s a birdie! It took three holes. Great speed for him so far, another wonderful lag.
TIGER ON THE DAY: 1 under thru 3 (T-3)
Hole No. 2: Par 3, 187 Yards
OFF THE TEE (12:19 p.m. ET): Our first par 3 of the day. Solid shot left of the pin. His 4-iron ends up 20 feet from the hole, short and left of the pin.
ON THE GREEN (12:24 p.m. ET): Woods’ birdie putt looks so good, but it just runs out of speed and misses low on the left. He taps in and that’s another simple par. Smooth start.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 2 (T-4)
Hole No. 1: Par 4, 423 Yards
OFF THE TEE (12:08 p.m. ET): Woods’ opening tee shot leaks left but gets a great kick back into the fairway! Yes, he’s on the short grass to start!
APPROACH SHOT (12:12 p.m. ET): From 99 yards away, Woods knocks one about 15 feet left of the hole. He has that left for birdie!
ON THE GREEN (12:16 p.m. ET): Woods’ birdie putt just sneaks by on the left. He taps in his remainder and that’s an opening par.
TIGER ON THE DAY: Even thru 1 (T-4)
Tiger is on the tee! Let’s do this!
Tiger will not tee off until 12:05 p.m. Eastern, but he has arrived at the course!
Reports are that he looks comfortable on the range. He does not appear to be stressed at all.
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HERO WORLD CHALLENGE TRACKER
UPDATE No. 8 (5:08 p.m. ET): The round is complete! Tommy Fleetwood is your leader. And tiger Woods is tied for eighth. Here’s a full look at the top 10 leaderboard entering Friday.
UPDATE No. 7 (4:14 p.m. ET): Tommy Fleetwood gets in the clubhouse at 6-under 66. That’s the lead score right now. Rickie Fowler is 5 under through 17, so he could match him. Overall, though, Fleetwood leads by two in the clubhouse overall Kevin Chappell, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson. Tiger Woods is tied for seventh at the moment at 3 under.
UPDATE No. 6 (2:33 p.m. ET): A six-way tie for the lead at 4 under. Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose and Kevin Chappell are the co-leaders.
UPDATE No. 5 (2:10 p.m. ET): Dustin Johnson birdies the ninth to go out in 4-under 32. He is tied for the lead with Fleetwood.
UPDATE No. 4 (1:58 p.m. ET): Tommy Fleetwood leads at 4 under through 10 holes. He’s ahead by one.
UPDATE No. 3 (1:03 p.m. ET): Rickie Fowler has started birdie-birdie-birdie to move into the lead by one at 3 under.
UPDATE No. 2 (12:42 p.m. ET): Kevin Chappell birdied three of his first five holes to take the lead. He has since bogeyed No. 6, though. He’s now tied for the lead at 2 under with Tommy Fleetwood (through four).
UPDATE No. 1 (11:50 a.m. ET): Kevin Chappell and Daniel Berger are tied for the early lead at 1 under. Both birdied the opening hole.