Rickie Fowler conquers Bahamas to win Hero World Challenge

Posted December 05, 2017

The major story this week was Tiger Woods' latest return to golf.

His eight-under-par total was good enough to beat world No.1 Dustin Johnson, FedEx Cup victor and world No. 3 Justin Thomas and US Open champion Brooks Koepka and it lifted Woods from 1,199th to 668th in the world golf rankings.

No more birdies were forthcoming, however, and Fowler settled for a course-record 61 and an 18-under total of 270. Fowler, ranked No. 9 in the world, had trailed 54-hole leader Charley Hoffman by seven strokes entering the day.

The ever secretive Woods has revealed few specifics of his back operations or his rehabilitation, but his most recent spinal fusion surgery seems to have been successful, judging by his movement and swing patterns.

Woods, the former longtime world No. 1 and 14-time major champion, had not officially logged four competitive rounds since the Wyndham Championship on August 20-23, 2015. "I really drove the ball a lot better than I was thinking, especially distance-wise". "I showed some good signs", he said, adding that they pointed toward "a bright future". The Stanford product posted rounds of 69-68-75-68 with two eagles, 17 birdies, 11 bogeys and one double bogey-6.

Only in the closing five holes, where Woods twice had birdies and narrowly missed a third at the last, did the 41-year-old show he could again be a factor at the elite 18-man event that features eight of the world's top 10.

Hoffman shot an even-par 72 in Round 4 to finish second at 14 under.

"I'm excited", said Woods, who was playing his first tournament for 301 days since pulling out the Dubai Desert Classic in February. "Nobody was sure how far he'd hit his iron shots, but I think he's done pretty well with that too". Woods beat current World No. 1 Dustin Johnson by eight shots.