US golfer Tiger Woods is pictured ahead of a training session at Nassau’s Albany Club in the Bahamas, on November 28, 2016. Tiger Woods delivered a strong indication he is ready for his comeback after a 16-month layoff when out-driving Olympic champion Justin Rose at Nassau’s Albany Club in the Bahamas on Monday. / AFP PHOTO / BERNIE MCGUIRE
Former world number one Tiger Woods, sidelined for 15 months after back surgery, will make his return to competitive golf at High Noon on Thursday alongside Patrick Reed at the Hero World Challenge.
Pairings for the 18-man invitational event were released Monday and Woods, a 14-time major champion who has not won a major title since the 2008 US Open, will be the second to play in the sixth group out.
It will be the first time Woods has played competitively since he shared 10th at Greensboro in August of last year.
Woods, who fell to 898th in the world rankings on Monday, missed the cut at the US and British Opens and the PGA Championship last year.
Woods, whose 79 career PGA titles are three shy of Sam Snead’s all-time record, has not won a tournament since the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational, a World Golf Championships event at Akron, Ohio.
It will be the first time Woods has played in the event owned by his charity foundation since it moved last year to the Bahamas and the Albany resort’s par-72, 7,267-yard Ernie Els-designed course.
Defending champion Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler are the first duo out at 11:10 a.m. followed at 10-minute intervals by two more US pairs, Jimmy Walker and Brandt Snedeker then J.B. Holmes and Zach Johnson.
Reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose of England and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, the runner-up in Rio, will start at 11:40 in a repeat of their dramatic last-round Olympic pairing, with past winner Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar next followed by Woods and Reed.
Reigning US Open champion Dustin Johnson and fellow American Brooks Koepka follow Woods onto the course with the final two duos consisting of international talent — Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and South African Louis Oosthuizen followed by Scotsman Russell Knox and Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo.