Tiger Woods may not have won but he couldn't have wished for much more on his long-awaited comeback

 
Sam Torrance
Follow Sam
Hero World Challenge - Final Round
Woods holed more birdies – 24 – than any other player at the tournament on his comeback (Source: Getty)

I saw nothing but positives in Tiger Woods’s comeback performance at the Hero World Challenge, which finished on Sunday – his first competitive outing for 15 injury-riddled months.

The 14-time Major winner led the field in birdies, making 24 across the 72 holes in the Bahamas.

That is hugely encouraging and at this stage you can’t ask for much more than that.

Read more: Why Stenson's 2016 Race To Dubai win was better than 2013

His scoring was inconsistent – Tiger shot rounds of 73, 65, 70 and 76 on his way to finishing four under par – and he finished 14 shots behind winner Hideki Matsuyama, but those mental errors are to be expected when you start playing for something again.

As soon as you get the pencil and scorecard in your hand again, golf becomes harder.

Of course he will need to smooth out some of those rough edges and cut out the mistakes, but the bogeys are nothing to worry about when you previously hadn’t played a tournament for 466 days.

I’ve said before that every single golfer in the world will be hoping that the former world No1’s comeback is a success, and in that respect this was a very exciting start.

Tiger’s next priority will simply be to play more; to hone his game by competing in more tournaments – doing what he does best.

Magical Matsuyama

Matsuyama underlined his class again by beating a high-quality field.

In fact, he slaughtered the competition and his seven-shot overnight lead meant that, although he had a poor, one-over-par final round, he was always very much in control.

That was the Japanese world No6’s third win in a row, his third in four events – he came second at the other one – and his fifth success of the season.

It’s no wonder the 24-year-old is already regarded by his peers as one of the very best out there.

Henrik Stenson, another star of 2016 due to his Open and Race To Dubai wins, took second and trimmed Matsuyama’s winning margin to two shots.

He’ll be fairly happy with that and just looking forward to getting home for Christmas after a long season.

Storm and Jamieson make most of their cards

A good story was playing out over in South Africa, meanwhile, at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.

Home favourite Brandon Stone won by seven strokes, but sharing fourth place were two men who only secured their European Tour cards very late: England’s Graeme Storm and Scott Jamieson of Scotland.

Storm, you may recall, finished the season just €100 outside of the qualifying places due to a bogey on the last hole of the last event in Portugal – only for American Patrick Reed’s decision not to take up membership to bump him back inside the cut-off mark.

He and Jamieson seem keen to make the most of their cards and are both off to a flyer.

Lawson's fantastic effort

Finally, Tiger wasn’t the only former champion with something to prove at the Hero World Challenge.

Lawson Muncaster, City A.M. co-founder and my cousin, was out to defend the pro-am title he won last year.

This time he had to settle for finishing fourth, but that’s still a fantastic effort.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles