Optimistic Tiger Woods plans on playing more often as he returns to PGA Tour

Tiger Woods is back.


The 47-year-old Woods is making a comeback to competitive golf for the third time at his own Hero World Championship.

The tournament, which features a 20-player field, begins Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Albany Club in the Bahamas.

The event presents a soft landing spot for Woods because of its small field of players and flat golf course.

It’ll be the first time Woods will have played competitively since April 8, when he withdrew from the Masters with discomfort in his right ankle.

Two weeks later, Woods revealed he had surgery to address “post-traumatic arthritis” in his right ankle — one of the byproducts resulting from his February 2021 car crash in Los Angeles. A subtalar fusion was performed on the ankle, which Woods on Tuesday called “a success’’ that has left him pain free.

Woods has made only five tournament starts since his 2021 car crash after the Genesis Invitational. He finished 47th at the 2022 Masters, withdrew from the 2022 PGA Championship, missed the cut at the 2022 British Open, tied for 45th at last year’s Genesis and withdrew from last year’s Masters.

“My game feels rusty; I haven’t I haven’t played in a while, so … I’m excited to compete and play and I’m just as curious as all of you are to see what happens,” Woods said Tuesday. “I can tell you that I don’t have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre (Augusta) that in my ankle. I’m a little more sore in other areas, but the ankle is good. So, that surgery was a success.”

Woods sounded more optimistic about his potential playing schedule moving forward, which is a departure from what we’ve heard from him in recent years.

“The best scenario would be a tournament a month, like Genesis (in February), then something in March, maybe the Players,” Woods said. “The biggest events (major championships) are one per month. It sets itself up for that. Now, I need to get myself ready for that and this week is a big step in that direction.”

This was a significant statement of optimism from Woods, who was indicating his plans to play Genesis, perhaps the Players Championship and/or Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and then on to the Masters in April, PGA Championship in May, U.S. Open in June and British Open in July.

“I love competing and I love playing and I miss being out here with the guys, I miss the camaraderie and fraternity of being out here and the banter,” Woods said. “I love competing. There will come a point in time — and I haven’t come around to it fully — that I won’t be able to win again. When that time comes, I’ll walk away.”

Asked if he still thinks he can win again, Woods said, “Absolutely.”

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