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The golfing world awaits Tiger's return

Tiger Woods during his last competitive appearance at the Dubai Desert Classic in February.
The return of Tiger Woods to competitive play this week has captured the attention of the golfing world as he prepares to tee it up at the Hero World Challenge at the Albany Course in New Providence in the Bahamas.

The event is the 14-time major winner’s first competitive outing since he fired an opening round 77 at the Dubai Desert Classic in February and withdrew before the second round citing back spasms.

Woods' first round in the Bahamas shapes as one the most heavily scrutinised rounds of golf in the game's history and the 41-year-old said he is delighted with the state of his health and fitness following a fourth surgery on his back in April.

“I’m not going to be able to dunk a basketball anytime soon but I am able to live life without any lower back pain or any kind of zinging down my leg any more so that is why it is different from the last two when I have come back at this event," Woods said during his Tuesday press conference.

“The neatest thing for me is to get out of bed and grab a club and not use it as a crutch so now I am able to take a swing. You have no idea how exciting that is and so I am so thankful I have had this procedure and have gotten to this point.”

The 18-man field includes eight of the world’s top 10 golfers with Hideki Matsuyama defending the title he won by two shots over Henrik Stenson last year.

The event is being played for the 18th occasion and host Woods is a five-time winner and four-time runner-up.

Woods' announcement at the end of October that he would return to competition at his own event came as no surprise off the back of a series of online posts from Woods showing the rapid development of his fitness and golf swing.

The Hero World Challenge is a non-official money event of the PGA Tour but it does offer world ranking points given that there is a distinct qualifying criteria.

Woods enters the week as the 1199th ranked player in the world and even if he finishes in last position in the Bahamas, he will move up approximately 250 positions.

2018 US OPEN AT SHINNECOCK HILLS

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