WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf Thursday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. It's his first competitive round since withdrawing from a tournament in Dubai in February.
The 18-man field includes No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. 2 Jordan Spieth and No. 3 Justin Thomas. The purse is $3.5 million, with the winner's share at $1 million. There is no cut.
Here's how to watch:
Woods tees off at 12:05 p.m. ET Thursday with Thomas. Golf Channel will have pre-round coverage from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and will provide live coverage of the first round from 12:30-4:30 p.m.
More TV info: Friday, 12:30-4:30 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 12-2:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2:30-5 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Golf Channel), 1-4 p.m. (NBC).
Here's what we know about his health, his form and his expectations:
Woods, who had spinal fusion surgery in April, says he didn't realize how bad his back was and tried "to go away from the pain." He's now pain free.
Patrick Reed played nine holes with Woods on Monday and was impressed with what he saw. "I was shocked how fluid his swing was and how far the ball was going," Reed said. "He had some speed behind it. He’s always been a little longer than me, but some of those drives today, he got it out there. He was hitting the stinger here and there, hitting bunker shots, hitting balls out of the rough."
Tiger says he's tempered his expectations, and here are some possibilities of what we'll see in his latest return from injury, writes columnist Nancy Armour.
There will be rust as Woods returns. How can there not be? Golf writer Steve DiMeglio writes that Woods will be searching for a rhythm and will be taking notes on how his body reacts to certain situations.
Tee times for Round 1
Albany Golf Course, Par 72, Yardage: 7,302
11:10 a.m.: Hideki Matsuyama, Francesco Molinari
11:21 a.m.: Charley Hoffman, Kevin Chappell
11:32 a.m.: Patrick Reed, Daniel Berger
11:43 a.m.: Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood
11:54 a.m.: Henrik Stenson, Alex Noren
12:05: Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods
12:16: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka
12:27: Kevin Kisner, Rickie Fowler
12:38: Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth
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