The number of shots Tiger Woods hit at the Hero World Challenge is mostly irrelevant. The only number that really matters is 72, which is the number of holes he was able to walk and finish over four days in the Bahamas.
For the record, Woods shot exactly even par against several of the best players in the world and ended up finishing in 18th place, ahead of Wyndham Clark and Will Zalatoris but behind the other 17 golfers in the event. He shot 72 on Sunday with five birdies, three bogeys and a double. He made 19 total birdies on the week, which placed him right in the middle of this field.
"I think I've come a long way, from being a little bit rusty to playing four days and knocking off a lot of rust, which is great," Woods told Golf Channel. "The physicality of actually playing and competing again. I haven't done this in a while. It was nice to get out there with the guys and have some fun and compete. I just wish I would have played a little bit cleaner, but there's always next time."
Woods was predictably sloppy throughout. The best iron player ever finished nearly last in approach play and wasn't much better around and on the greens. The good news is two-fold.
First, he has speed off the tee; he was regularly in the 170s in terms of his ball speed and averaged nearly 310 yards on all drives.
Second, he seems intent to follow through on the optimism from earlier in the week when he said playing once a month in 2024 would be a great outcome. Despite not knowing how his body would respond to 72 holes, he remained steadfast after the round on that number.
"I think, if you ask me right now, I'm a little bit sore," he told Golf Channel. "Once a month seems reasonable. It gives me a couple weeks to recover, a week to tune up. Maybe I can get into a rhythm with something like that. That's what the plan was going into next year, and I don't see why that would change."
Anecdotally, Woods looked healthy. Or at least as healthy as is to be expected following the innumerable surgeries he's undergone, including the subtalar fusion he had on his ankle just after the 2023 Masters. Woods said repeatedly this week that the two options for him were to get an ankle replacement or the subtalar fusion, which seems to have helped.
Though the rest of his body -- back, neck and leg -- is seemingly in a terrific amount of pain, Woods walked and swung as freely as he has in a long time in the Bahamas. That's not everything, and it remains to be seen whether he can play his way to the level necessary to compete for PGA Tour events (or even major championships), but there is certainly a sense of hope following his even-par performance at this Hero World Challenge.