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“I think I competed well”: Woods still has a “bright future”

More than two years had passed since Tiger Woods completed his last tournament on a golf course before Sunday.

Woods, playing competitively for the first time since last February in Dubai, carded a final-round 4-under-par 68 to finish tied for ninth place at 8-under 280 in the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Club in New Province, The Bahamas.

Rickie Fowler closed with a blistering 61 to finish at 18-under 270 for the weekend to claim the Hero World Challenge title.

Fowler, ranked No. 9 in the world, had trailed 54-hole leader Charley Hoffman by seven strokes entering the day.

Woods, the former longtime world No. 1 and 14-time major champion, had not officially logged four competitive rounds since the Wyndham Championship on Aug. 20-23, 2015.

“I think I competed well,” Woods told ESPN after logging his third sub-par round of the weekend. “I really drove the ball a lot better than I was thinking, especially distance-wise.”

Woods eagled the par-4, 350-yard seventh hole and mixed six birdies with two bogeys and a double bogey in his closing round. He opened the event with a 69 and went on to cap his weekend at 68-75-68.

“Man, I hit a lot of good long irons and fairway woods from the fairway, and for the majority of the week I really putted well,” Woods said. “… I hit just a boatload of good putts.”

As far as his next tournament is concerned, Woods has not yet made a public commitment.

He told reporters he experienced “no pain” over the weekend and believes he still has a “bright future” on the course.

Woods underwent a fourth back surgery last April and made headlines when he was arrested near his Jupiter, Fla. home for driving under the influence.

Toxicology reports revealed a plethora of prescription drugs in his system at the time of the arrest, including pain killers.

Fowler sprinkled 11 birdies — including seven straight from Nos. 1-7 — in his bogey-free round, leading him to victory in the 18-player field.

Hoffman closed with a 72 to finish second at 274. England’s Tommy Fleetwood (276), world No. 2 Jordan Spieth (276) and world No. 5 Hideki Matsuyama of Japan (277), Patrick Reed (277) and Olympic champion and world No. 6 Justin Rose of England (277) rounded out the top five.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson finished in a tie for 14th at 288 after a final-round 72.


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