Tiger lightens load, plays nine holes in pro-am

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NASSAU, Bahamas — Tiger Woods won’t have to walk 90 holes in the Hero World Challenge, his first tournament in more than seven months after undergoing surgery on his right ankle in April.

The 15-time major champion will have to walk 81 holes over five days in the no-cut, unofficial PGA Tour event he hosts each year, after playing nine holes in the 18-hole pro-am Wednesday.

Woods, who turns 48 next month, didn’t seem to be laboring and carded a birdie on the last hole at Albany.

Woods, who didn’t talk to reporters after the pro-am, is scheduled to tee off with his good friend Justin Thomas at 11:52 a.m. ET in the first round Thursday.

In a news conference Tuesday, Woods told reporters he no longer has the severe pain in his right foot and ankle caused by post-traumatic arthritis from injuries suffered in a February 2021 car wreck outside Los Angeles.

Woods withdrew from the Masters during the rain-delayed third round in his last PGA Tour start. He has played in only five PGA Tour tournaments since the wreck.

“My game feels rusty; I haven’t played in a while,” Woods said Tuesday. “I had my subtalar fused. I’m excited to compete and play, and I’m just as curious as all of you are to see what happens because I haven’t done it in a while.

“I can tell you this: I don’t have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre-that in my ankle. Well, other parts are taking the brunt of the load, so I’m a little more sore in other areas, but the ankle’s good. So that surgery was a success.”

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