NASSAU, Bahamas—Former world number one Tiger Woods, sidelined for 15 months after back surgery, will make his return to competitive golf at High Noon on Thursday alongside Patrick Reed at the Hero World Challenge.
Pairings for the 18-man invitational event were released Monday and Woods, a 14-time major champion who has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open, will be the second to play in the sixth group out.
It will be the first time Woods has played competitively since he shared 10th at Greensboro in August of last year.
Woods, who fell to 898th in the world rankings on Monday, missed the cut at the US and British Opens and the PGA Championship last year.
Woods, whose 79 career PGA titles are three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record, has not won a tournament since the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational, a World Golf Championships event at Akron, Ohio.
It will be the first time Woods has played in the event owned by his charity foundation since it moved last year to the Bahamas and the Albany resort’s par-72, 7,267-yard Ernie Els-designed course.
Defending champion Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler are the first duo out at 11:10 a.m. followed at 10-minute intervals by two more US pairs, Jimmy Walker and Brandt Snedeker then J.B. Holmes and Zach Johnson.
Reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose of England and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, the runner-up in Rio, will start at 11:40 in a repeat of their dramatic last-round Olympic pairing, with past winner Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar next followed by Woods and Reed.
Reigning US Open champion Dustin Johnson and fellow American Brooks Koepka follow Woods onto the course with the final two duos consisting of international talent—Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and South African Louis Oosthuizen followed by Scotsman Russell Knox and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo.
Woods delivered a strong indication he is ready for his comeback after a 16-month layoff when out-driving Olympic champion Justin Rose at Nassau’s Albany Club in the Bahamas on Monday.
The 14-time Major winner makes his long awaited return in the Hero World Challenge starting Thursday, where he will play with American Ryder Cup star Patrick Reed.
He teamed up with Rose, who has been a resident on the exclusive Albany estate for two and a half years, former New York Yankees baseball legend Derek Jeter and fellow World Series winner Tino Martinez.
Woods, who has ‘parked’ his luxury yacht ‘Privacy’ close to Rose’s palatial home on the island, was clearly very relaxed in the company of the three and aside from an errant drive down the left side of the 13th he was in play for much of the nine holes in the sunny but windy conditions.
There were no official scores recorded but it’s understood Woods, wearing shorts, shot a comfortable one-over-par 37 for the nine holes that included two bogeys and a birdie.