Tiger Woods ‘Pleasantly Surprised’ With How His Body Is Responding On His Competitive Return To Golf

Tiger Woods hits a shot from just off the 16th green during the third round of the Hero World Challenge. (Tracy Wilcox/PGA Tour/Getty Images)

By Aimee Lewis, CNN

(CNN) — Competing in his first tournament since undergoing ankle surgery, Tiger Woods said he is “pleasantly surprised” with how he has physically recovered after each round at this week’s Hero World Challenge.

The 15-time major winner posted a third round one-under 71 on Saturday in Albany, the Bahamas, moving him to level-par overall and tied for 16th after an encouraging performance.

Until this week Woods had not competed since withdrawing from the Masters in April with an injury which then required surgery, so interest in seeing how the American would perform over four rounds has been high.

Speaking to the PGA Tour after his third round, Woods said: “It could’ve been a little bit better than the score indicates, I could’ve shot something in the high 60s today which would’ve been nice.

“I still have game, it’s whether or not the body can do it or not.

“I’m pleasantly surprised with how I’ve recovered every day. Like I said, the ankle is fine. I’m a bit sore in other parts, but that’s ok.”

“I’m very excited how the week’s turned out,” he added, per the PGA Tour.

Woods underwent ankle surgery after enduring “constant” pain across his three rounds at Augusta National during the Masters, which was only his second competitive appearance of 2023.

The former world No.1 has had a long list of physical issues in recent years, including severe leg injuries suffered in a car crash two years ago.

He told reporters last week that the best, and most realistic, scenario for 2024 would be to compete in one tournament per month.

Woods recorded five birdies and four bogeys during his third round, finishing one-over-par on the final nine – an improvement on the previous two rounds when he had struggled on the back nine.

Woods is 16 shots off compatriot and world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who leads going into the final day after posting a seven-under 65 on Saturday. England’s Matt Fitzpatrick is three shots behind in second.

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