SAN ANGELO, TX — The focus of the sports world, particularly in golf, centers on the seemingly "new-and-improved" Tiger Woods. Since his last appearance at a PGA-sanctioned tournament in April 2023 at the Masters, Woods has visibly bulked up.
Golf fans and Tiger Woods fans alike eagerly awaited his return to the limelight, which occurred at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament hosted by Woods himself over the past weekend. Held at the Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas from November 30 to December 3, the Hero World Challenge is a four-round event.
In his first tournament in nearly eight months, Woods showcased his enduring competitiveness but finished at even par at Albany Golf Club on Sunday, securing the 18th position out of 20 on the overall leaderboard. His final round included five birdies, notably a remarkable long putt on the fifth hole, alongside challenging moments: a double bogey on the second hole and three additional bogeys on the 8th, 11th, and 16th.
One notable aspect of the seasoned pro’s game was his remarkable length off the tee box. Woods displayed improved and consistent driving, surpassing his performance in recent years. The 47-year-old averaged 305 yards off the tee, reaffirming his prowess in the long game, while also proving his aging body's endurance over four rounds of competitive golf.
In a post-round interview with the Golf Channel, Woods remarked, “I think I’ve come a long way from being a little bit rusty to playing four days and knocking off a lot of rust, which was great.” He further added, “The physicality of actually playing and competing again – I haven’t done this in a while. It was nice to get out there with the guys and have some fun and compete. I just wish I could have played a little bit cleaner but there’s always next time.”
During the tournament, Woods notably appeared larger in his chest and shoulder areas, filling out his golf shirt more than usual. Woods has consistently emphasized the importance of golfers maintaining athleticism and taking physical fitness seriously. He was among the first to prioritize weight training and functional exercise, influencing a new generation of golfers to focus on their physical conditioning.
However, at 47 years old, many golf enthusiasts speculate whether Woods might be engaging in hormone replacement therapy or using performance enhancement supplements to achieve his notably muscular physique. His altered appearance has generated discussions and comparisons through "before and after" photos on social media.
The method behind Woods' physical transformation remains unclear, but one thing is evident: fans eagerly anticipate his continued top-level performance. Woods' next appearance will be at the PNC Championship, a father-son tournament scheduled to tee off in Orlando, Florida, on December 14. This marks Woods' fourth consecutive entry into the event alongside his son Charlie and his second tournament since undergoing ankle surgery in April.
Woods aims to participate in the PGA Tour at least once a month throughout 2024. During the past weekend, he expressed potential interest in competing in the Genesis Invitational in February and the Players Championship in March, signaling an intensification in his competitive return.
Following this, fans are hopeful and speculating that he might make appearances at the Masters in April and potentially at the Olympics in Paris later in the year.