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Tiger Woods felt sore “everywhere” after making his comeback at the Hero World Challenge on Thursday but the 15-time major winner could not hide the smile on his face after his first competitive round since April.
Woods was eight shots off the pace set by Brian Harman and Tony Finau in the Bahamas, dropping four shots in three holes between the 15th and 17th to finish three over par in a share of 18th place.
But for the 47-year-old, it felt good to blow off some cobwebs after undergoing ankle surgery in April.
“I’m sore, there’s no doubt about that,” Woods said. “We’ve got some work to do tonight. Tomorrow get back in the gym and activate and get ready for it. Hopefully hit some better shots.
“And now I know mentally what I need to do better. I think that’s something that physically I knew I was going to be OK. Mentally, I was really rusty and made a lot of errors in the mind that normally I don’t make.”
Tiger Woods made his return to professional golf in the Bahamas
Asked where he felt sore, Woods added: “Everywhere…My leg, my back, my neck. Just from playing, hitting shots and trying to hold off shots. It’s just different at game speed, too. Game speed’s a lot different than at home speed.”
Woods birdied the third and fifth holes, but bogeys on the fourth and sixth immediately cancelled those out. He put the mental errors he made down to a lack of rhythm after so long out.
“Instead of reacting to it, I was thinking about doing it,” he said. “Then as I was thinking about it, should I do this or not, by then I’m pulling the trigger. I shouldn’t really pull the trigger. Hit a bad shot. I kept doing it time and time again.
“It was a lack of commitment to what I was doing and feeling. I’ve got to do a better job of it…
“I wanted to compete, I wanted to play. I felt like I was ready to compete and play. I hit it solid most of the day. As I said, I just didn’t mentally do the things I normally would do and I need to do.”