FORMER world No1 Tiger Woods endured a nightmare return to action yesterday when he carded a five-over-par 77 in the first round of the Hero World Challenge in Windermere, Florida – a tournament hosted by the 14-time Major winner.
All eyes were on Woods as he made his first appearance since failing to make the cut at the US PGA Championship in August and recently beginning work with a new swing coach, Chris Como.
But the 38-year-old could hardly have started more inauspiciously when he miscued his tee shot on the opening hole out of bounds, which proved the foundation for an underwhelming comeback as Woods ended 11 strokes behind leader Jordan Spieth.
There were flashes of brilliance such as a near eagle from the fairway on the 12th, although Woods was blighted by four bogeys and a double bogey, while only returning a single birdie to sit bottom of the no-cut, 18-man field.
Sweden’s Henrik Stenson finished the first round as Europe’s highest placed player on five under par, just one shot off the lead, along with Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker and Rickie Fowler.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell is a shot behind together with Jimmy Walker and Hideki Matsuyama, while Justin Rose returned a level-par 72.
England’s Ross Fisher, meanwhile, holds the outright lead after the opening round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa, an event which triggers the start of the European Tour season.
The world No88 fired a six-under 66 to earn a two-stroke advantage, while George Coetzee, Marcel Siem and Alexander Levy are all two shots behind as Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher is a further two strokes behind after hitting 70.