Tiger Woods is targeting a return to the majors in 2018 after completing a successful—and impressive—return to golf.
Woods made his long-awaited comeback from 10 months on the sidelines at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament his Tiger Woods Foundation hosts in the Bahamas. His sights are now set on major tournaments taking place in 2018.
The 14-time major winner exceeded the expectations of most—and perhaps even himself—from the moment he fired his opening drive down the middle of the fairway. Woods even led during the second round before ultimately finishing in ninth place in the 18-strong field after a three-over par third round derailed his charge a little.
Woods ended on nine-under par for the week, nine shots adrift of winner Rickie Fowler, but such was the positivity of his comeback appearance that the American is already thinking about his targets and schedule for next year.
“I’m excited,” Woods said after the Hero World Challenge. “My expectations are we’ll be playing next year. We’re going to figure out what’s the best way for me to build my schedule for the major championships.
“I don’t know what golf courses I’ll be playing and what’s the best way to go about it. We’ll sit down with the whole team and we’ll figure it out—where I’m going to start, how much I’m going to play, rest periods, training cycles, the whole nine yards.”
The return of a competitive Woods is something fans have been waiting for, with the former world number one not having threatened a win on tour in the last four years—during which he has undergone four surgeries on his persistent back injury.
Tiger Woods’ Hero World Challenge
Woods played in the Hero World Challenge 12 months ago before missing the cut in the Farmers Insurance Open in January and withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic the following month. After that, he wasn’t seen on the golf course again until late November.
The 79-time PGA TOUR winner has not won a title since lifting the WGC Bridgestone Invitational trophy in 2013 over four years ago. However, his performance in the Bahamas was encouraging enough to suggest he could be up to returning to the top—or near enough—of the game.
The last of Woods’ 14 majors was achieved at the 2008 U.S. Open and almost a decade ago; he remains four short of Jack Nicklaus’ record haul of 18.
But it appears that majors, rather than a busy schedule, will be Woods’ focus in 2018. He looks likely to pick and choose his tournament appearances, unlike his previous attempts to come back from injury.
In April, we should see Tiger Woods tee it up at Augusta for the U.S. Masters. It will only be his second appearance at the year’s first major since 2013. His only result at the event in the last four years was his 17th place finish in 2015.
Woods hasn’t played in a major since then, missing the last 11. He has not played in the Masters for two years and missed the last the U.S. Opens, Open Championships and PGA Championships.