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Tiger Woods' return: Here's how he did

Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf after 10 months of injury- and rehab-induced layoff. It’s been four years since Woods has won a tournament, nearly 10 years since he won a major, and yet he remains one of the most compelling figures in the game.

Woods teed off for the first round of the Hero World Challenge at 12:05 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, and you can watch him several different ways this week. Here’s a hole-by-hole breakdown of his first round.

Hole 1, 423 yards, par 4
Woods’ first tee shot into a strong left-to-right wind clears the first bunker and just kicks into the left side of the fairway, 99 yards from the pin. If you’d like a look at it, here you go:


Woods’ 15-foot birdie putt slid just left, and he tapped in for par. CURRENT SCORE: Even

Hole 2, 187 yards, par 3

Woods set himself up for another birdie, but left the putt just short. CURRENT SCORE: Even

Hole 3, 572 yards, par 5
On the green in two, Woods had an early chance to get into red numbers. He left his eagle attempt just short, and tapped in for a birdie. CURRENT SCORE: -1

Hole 4, 489 yards, par 4
The first stumble of the day for Woods; he chunked a greenside chip from the apron and left himself with a long putt from the fringe for par. He drained it, and we got our FIRST TIGER FIST PUMP. (Yes, it came on the fourth hole of the tournament on a Thursday afternoon. Baby steps.) CURRENT SCORE: -1.


Hole 5, 180 yards, par 3
Tiger reaches the edge of the green and two-putts, giving the crowd a little bit of a rise on the long birdie putt. Onward. CURRENT SCORE: -1

Hole 6, 595 yards, par 5
Woods’ tee shot drifted right into a sandy area wide of the fairway. He spun his approach shot back toward the hole a good 50 feet, giving himself a long putt for eagle. He ended up three-putting, but saved par. CURRENT SCORE: -1

Hole 7, 350 yards, par 4
Woods rips it straight at the hole and ends up in the greenside bunker, facing an up-and-down for another birdie. His blast from the sand ran well past the hole, and he couldn’t sink the birdie putt. CURRENT SCORE: -1

Hole 8, 216 yards, par 3
Another green in regulation, followed by another birdie, followed by another fist pump. This golf thing is easy. CURRENT SCORE: -2

Hole 9, 603 yards, par 5
Not so great. Woods flubbed a chip and unleashed the first f-bomb of his return, then missed the par putt to give back the stroke he’d gained the last hole. He hit three of seven fairways off the tee, six of nine greens in regulation, and carded 15 putts as of the turn. CURRENT SCORE: -1

Hole 10, 435 yards, par 4
Woods began the back nine with a dead-bang shot straight down the fairway and then an approach to about 12 feet from the hole. He knocked down the birdie putt, a nice bounceback from what had been his worst hole of the day. CURRENT SCORE: -2


Hole 11, 589 yards, par 5
Another rocky par 5. Woods rolled his birdie putt past the hole and unleashed an audible G-D. (You can figure it out.) He did drain a long par putt to preserve his score. CURRENT SCORE: -2

Hole 12, 202 yards, par 3
Routine par for Woods on another par 3, a nice pitch out of the greenside rough setting up a five-foot putt. “Routine” works just fine for this round, and for this entire comeback, really. CURRENT SCORE: -2

Hole 13, 483 yards, par 4
Another birdie! Following a chip from the rough to about 20 feet from the pin, it’s another one-putt for Woods, who’s two strokes off the lead. Woods’ putter can erase an awful lot of mistakes if it’s hot. CURRENT SCORE: -3

Hole 14, 298 yards, par 4
Tiger opted to lay up, but dropped his approach shot to within about three feet of the cup. One stroke later, Tiger was four strokes under, one off the lead as he left the green. CURRENT SCORE: -4

Hole 15, 548 yards, par 5
Off the tee, Woods splayed a shot wide right, into the scrub and sand. He hit a provisional in the event he wouldn’t be able to find the tee shot. Woods had to take an unplayable drop in the native area, and managed to advance it out of the scrub. He had a blind shot into the green, and that left him with a long attempt at a par save. He failed that, and finished the day +1 on par 5s. That’s a fast way to improve. CURRENT SCORE: -3


Hole 16, 485 yards, par 4
Another visit to the sand off the tee. Woods’ approach ended about 10 feet from the hole, but he ran a makeable birdie putt past the hole. He picked up the par comebacker. CURRENT SCORE: -3

Hole 17, 187 yards, par 3
Woods’ tee shot ended in the fringe, and Woods used a wedge, rather than a putter, to roll it forward. Result: a tap-in par. CURRENT SCORE: -3

Hole 18, 470 yards, par 4
The 18th bedeviled Woods last year, and he played it in 6 over. This time around, his drive found the fairway and his approach nestled up against the fringe. Two strokes later, Woods was in with a par, closing the day at -3, tied for 7th and three strokes behind leader Tommy Fleetwood.

VERDICT: Anything better than Woods’ back detonating on the course would have been a good sign, but the fact Woods brought it home three under par is a great sign. It’s a long, long way for him to go, and the chipping issue is a concern, but there’s room for improvement. All in all, a solid beginning to the comeback.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.