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Tiger Woods Shows Signs of Mental Rust in Return to Competition

Tiger Woods said he felt “mentally rusty” on his return to competitive golf on Thursday after the 15-time major winner carded a three-over-par 75 in the first round of the PGA Tour’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

The former world number one has not played since April when he withdrew during the Masters due to injury before undergoing ankle surgery.

The 47-year-old has kept a limited competition schedule after a 2021 car crash left him with a serious leg injury and while he said his body held up fine on Thursday the mental side of the game let him down.

“I felt like I was ready to compete and play,” said Woods, who finished the day eight shots behind joint leaders Brian Harman and Tony Finau.

“I hit it solid most of the day. As I said, I just didn’t mentally do the things I normally would do and I need to do.

“Now I know mentally what I need to do better. Physically, I knew I was going to be OK. Mentally, I was really rusty and made a lot of errors in the mind that normally I don’t make.”

Despite being “sore all over” Woods was looking forward to getting back on course for the second round of the tournament, which he hosts for the benefit of his charity.

“We’ve got some work to do tonight. Tomorrow, get back in the gym and activate and get ready for it,” he said. “Hopefully I hit some better shots.”