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05.06.2018 14:12
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NASSAU, Bahamas -- Not only did Tiger Woods return to golf Thursday, he returned to being Tiger.Just not for long.Hardly looking like a player who had not competed in 466 days, Woods ran off three straight birdies with a variety of shots and was tied for the lead in the Hero World Challenge as he approached the turn.Three shots in the bushes, one shot in the water and a few fits of anger sent him toward the bottom of the pack. A pair of double bogeys over the final three holes ruined an otherwise impressive return, and Woods shot 40 on the back nine at Albany Golf Club and had to settle for a 1-over 73.He was in 17th place in the 18-man field. Only Justin Rose had a higher score.Even so, Woods has reason to be encouraged. After taking off 15 months to recover from two back surgeries, he felt no pain or limitations. His misses were not big, just costly. And he was playing again.It could have been something really good, Woods said. I got off to a nice, solid start and made a few mistakes there. I didnt play the par 5s very well in the middle part of the round and consequently, got it going the wrong way. ... But all in all, I feel pretty good. Im looking forward to another three more days.He was nine shots behind J.B. Holmes, who opened with an 8-under 64 and had a one-shot lead over Hideki Matsuyama, with U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson at 66.Curiosity was greater than expectations for Woods, who was coming off the longest hiatus of his golfing life. Plagued by back problems since 2013 when he was No. 1 in the world, he finally shut it down after tying for 10th in the Wyndham Championship on Aug. 23, 2015, and then going through two back surgeries.He was in so much pain last year there were times he wondered he had played his last tournament.With high anticipation, he tugged his opening tee shot into the rough on the left edge of a bunker and gouged that out to 15 feet for par. Just like that, it all started to feel as though he had never been away.By the time I hit my tee shot on the second hole, I had already gotten into the flow of the round, Woods said. Thats something that for me, when Ive taken layoffs and taken breaks, its how quickly can I find the feel of the round? To not play in 15, 16 months and get it on the second hole is nice.He also knew that with only a stiff tropical wind behind him on three of the par 5s, scores would be low.For a short time, Woods seemed up to the task. He hit a 5-iron from 231 yards just over the green and passed his first test, a 30-yard pitch-and-run and that checked slightly and rolled out to a few feet from the hole for a birdie . He faced a more difficult pitch up the slope on the next hole and hit a chunk-and-run to 3 feet.His confidence kept building -- the flop shot from 40 yards to 5 feet for birdie on the par-5 sixth, the wedge to 5 feet for birdie on the seventh, and a 6-iron he struck so well on the par-3 eighth that he was asking for perfection. One yard! One yard! he said as the ball was in the air, and then settled 2 feet away.At that point he was tied with Holmes.But he flubbed a pitch on the par-5 ninth and made bogey. Two holes later, he flared an iron from the sandy waste area into a bush and had to take a penalty shot, making another bogey on a par 5. Woods was still hanging around in the middle of the pack when he hit 7-iron to 12 feet on the par-5 15th and two-putted for birdie.And then it all fell apart.Froom the middle of the 16th fairway, he pulled his approach and dropped the club as it sailed into a bush. He had to play that backward to the fairway, pitched a wedge some 30 feet by and made double bogey. And then on the 18th, he pulled his driver and immediately slammed the club into the turf as he watched for the splash.His pitch hit the pin -- it was too strong, anyway -- and he missed from 20 feet for another bogey.Just made some really silly mistakes, mistakes I dont normally make, Woods said. But I havent played in a while. Unfortunately, I made those mistakes. I can clean that up. Weve got three more days. Wind is supposed to pump on the weekend, and Ill be playing a little bit better. Corey Brown Jersey . Bryant, who signed a five-year, $34 million contract as a free agent with Cleveland in March, reported symptoms on Monday morning, a team spokesman said. Kelvin Benjamin Jersey .Y. -- Leading 3-0 with only 11:25 left, the Colorado Avalanche committed a seemingly meaningless penalty to give the New York Islanders a power play. .S. Open champion Justin Rose birdied the first hole with a blind shot he hit to a foot of the pin, and he stayed in front Tuesday until he completed a 4-under 67 for a two-shot lead over Jason Dufner in PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Mike Adams Jersey . After Mondays hard-fought loss, the wait seemed longer than usual. Getting set to go their separate ways for a short Christmas break, the Raptors coach credited his team for their effort on a seemingly impossible three-game road trip, urging them to build on that success when they get back to work at the end of the week. Charles Tillman Jersey .05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal. The designation was released Monday after the deadline passed for NFL teams to use franchise or transition tags on players becoming free agents. TROON, Scotland --?Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Branden Grace. Six players in the worlds top 10 who will not be teeing up in Rio next month -- a damning indictment of the Olympics standing on a golfers wanted list.The Games, which sees a return of golf for the first time since 1904, could really do with a win right about now. It got that on Tuesday when Masters champion Danny Willett and former U.S. Open winner Justin Rose?-- ranked 9th and 11th respectively -- all but confirmed they will represent Great Britain in Rio.As Willett and Rose prepare for the Open Championship in Troon, both clearly had one eye on a six-week run that will see them compete in two major championships before joining up with Team GB in Brazil.With around half of the 15 players to have officially ruled themselves out of the Olympics citing the threat of the Zika virus as their reason, new-dad Willett admits it was a tough decision to play.Theres been a few discussions with me and [my wife] Nic, he told reporters at Troon. Its a tricky one. The opportunity was there to be an Olympian and that to me [is] going to be pretty cool. You dont know how many times you will be in the Olympics, if [golf] will be in the Olympics again. Obviously with how people reacted to everything, youre not quite sure.I was pretty sure all along I wanted to go play unless the threat would have gotten worse, then it would have been a very different story. But from what I understand in speaking to the guys, the threat is lessening every day. Its obviously winter over there, and the guys are taking precautionary measures to make sure things are as safe as possible. So Im willing to take that little bit of risk that there is and go play.It was something I wanted to do was to be supporting team Britain in the Olympics and its something Im still very much set for going.Rose, meanwhile, said he is excited to be headed to Rio. Im treating it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, he said. Its sort of been my tag line, I suppose. I hhope that Ill be able to play in Tokyo [in 2020].dddddddddddd We hope that golf will be in Tokyo, but for the most part, at this stage of my career its something that comes around once every four years [so] its something you can certainly make an exception for. Thats been my attitude towards it.Just being a part of Team GB, in a sense you feel like youre part of something bigger than just your individual sport as well.Its going to be a fun occasion, and Ive never been to an Olympic games in any capacity. To go as an athlete is a huge honour. But as part of the whole experience, I want to take in the Games as a whole. So its something that my family and I have been very excited about.Both players, though, expressed sympathy with those who have pulled out due to the threat of Zika -- a virus that can cause defects in new-born babies.You look at a lot of people down there in their own sports and a lot of them are inside, Willett said. Were one of the only sports that are going to be outside for such a long period of time. You look at the golf course, its obviously very close to the water down in old marshland.So if you break it down, the risks are probably slightly higher for us than other sports just because of the nature that you could be having five-hour rounds with an hour warm-up and still be outside for long periods of time. And obviously, the mosquitos are going to potentially be there. But its winter [in Brazil]. The threat level has been lessening every week.Rose added: Its a sad situation to see those sorts of guys pulling out. Its obviously weakened the field. But youve got to respect their position. You do have to put your health and family first from that point of view.Willett and Rose are expected to be announced on Wednesday as Team GBs representatives for Rio, with Englishman Chris Wood first reserve should either of his compatriots have a last-minute change of heart. 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