Golf

Woods takes away the positives

Tiger Woods' return to competition after an absence of nearly 16 months was a mixed bag, although the former world No. 1 said he had a great week simply competing at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

The roller-coaster nature of his form over the four days at the Albany course on the island of New Providence was sharply illustrated by the fact that he led the elite field with birdies (24) and double-bogeys (six).

While Woods showed flashes of the brilliant golf he produced while accumulating 14 Major titles, he also delivered the inept, often finding sandy waste areas off the tee or with approach shots, and occasionally bladed bunker shots over greens.

"I am just so thankful to be back out here playing again," Woods said after closing with a four-over 76 yesterday morning (Singapore time) to finish 15th in a final field of 17.

MISTAKES

"I made some birdies this week, and I felt like I did really well in that regard, but I also made some really silly mistakes. I played the par-fives, quite frankly, awful."

One player who will surely be climbing up the world rankings quickly is Hideki Matsuyama, who captured his fourth title in the past two months by holding off reigning British Open champion Henrik Stenson yesterday morning to win the Hero World Challenge by two strokes.

World No. 6 Matsuyama finished on 18-under 270 after a closing 73 while No. 4 Stenson, who trimmed an eight-shot deficit to two, shot 68 to stand on 16-under 272.

Matsuyama won at the Japan Open and World Golf Championships HSBC Champions in October and won the Taiheiyo Masters in Japan last month.

"He's going to be one of the top guys to beat for a very long time," said Woods. - WIRE SERVICES

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