All set for Woods' return

Woods, who was forced into a hiatus following a back surgery, was optimistic and determined to do well over the next four days as he enters ‘Phase II’ of his life on the Tour.

Tiger Woods AP Hero World Challenge

Tiger Woods would line up to tee off competitively after 466 days as the five-time champion joins 17 other PGA Tour players in the quest for $1 million prize money at the Hero World Challenge.   -  AP

Sports fans in general and golfing aficionados in particular would be following the fortunes of one of the global icons of recent times as the Hero World Challenge gets underway at the Albany Golf Course here on Thursday.

The legendary Tiger Woods would line up to tee off competitively after 466 days as the five-time champion joins 17 other PGA Tour players in the quest for USD 1 million prize money at the well laid-out yet challenging Ernie Els-designed course.

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Woods, who was forced into a hiatus following a back surgery, was optimistic and determined to do well over the next four days as he enters ‘Phase II’ of his life on the Tour.

“They're going to try and beat me. I want to beat them, too. If I enter an event, I'm going to try and win the thing. I know that's a tall order, but the mindset is still there,” said the 14-time Majors champion on Tuesday.

The tremendous field, that has 13 of the top 25 players in the official world rankings, includes among others defending champion Bubba Watson, three 2016 Majors champions and the podium finishers at the Rio Olympics, where the sport made a comeback after 100 years.

The Challenge, which is a four-round, 72-hole stroke play event with a $3.5 million purse and official World Golf ranking points, will be played over a par-72, 7,303-yard course for the second straight year at Albany.

All the players tuned up for the action by participating in the Pro-Am tournament on Wednesday with Woods getting a feel of the course in the company of three amateurs including the Hero MotoCorp CMD Pawan Munjal.

Going by the weatherman’s forecast for the next four days, fans can expect some intense play under clear blue skies and favourable wind conditions.