Tiger Woods returns: How to watch the Hero World Challenge and everything else you need to know

Tiger Woods
USA TODAY Sports
Tiger Woods is scheduled to return to competitive golf this week at his Hero World Challenge.
By Dan McDonald
PGA.com

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Thursday, December 01, 2016 | 12:40 p.m.

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competitive golf this week at the Hero World Challenge. Woods, the tournament host, began the event in 1999. Here's everything you need to know about the 14-time major winner's return to competitive golf.

What: Hero World Challenge
When: Thursday, Dec. 1 - Sunday, Dec. 4
Where: Albany Golf Course, The Bahamas
Defending champ: Bubba Watson
TV: Thursday/Friday - Golf Channel 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Saturday - Golf Channel 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm, NBC 2:30 pm to 5 pm
Sunday - Golf Channel 11 am to 1 pm, NBC 1 pm to 4 pm

LIVESTREAM: GolfChannel.com will livestream its coverage.

RELATED: Hero World Challenge leaderboard, pairings | What we can expect from Tiger

Tournament Field (As of Oct. 23, world ranking in parenthesis): Dustin Johnson (2), USA; Jordan Spieth (4), USA; Henrik Stenson (5), Sweden; Patrick Reed (7), USA; Bubba Watson (8), USA; Hideki Matsuyama (10), Japan; Rickie Fowler (11), USA; Justin Rose (12), England; Jimmy Walker (17), USA; Matt Kuchar (19), USA; Russell Knox (20), Scotland; Brandt Snedeker (22), USA; Brooks Koepka (23), USA; Louis Oosthuizen (24), South Africa; J.B. Holmes (25), USA; Emiliano Grillo (26), Argentina; Tiger Woods (tournament host), USA; Zach Johnson (exemption), USA

Tiger ripped a drive on the third hole and made birdie - his first in a competitive round since 2015:

Earlier in the week, Tiger appeared on GOLF Channel's Morning Drive on Tuesday and said his game has improved to a point where he doesn't have to rely on one or two "stock shots." He also touched on his Ryder Cup experience as a vice-captain:

 

When it comes to Tiger's goals for the week, he's set the bar pretty high.

 

 

Tiger Woods' road to return

It has been 16 months since Tiger Woods played a round of competitive golf. The last tournament Woods played in was the 2015 Wyndham Championship, where he finished tied for 10th, four shots behind winner Davis Love III.

Tiger only completed four rounds at seven tournaments during the 2015 season and missed the cut at three of the four majors. He finished 17th at the Masters.

Following his August round at the Wyndham, he had surgery on his back and had planned to return in early 2016. Setbacks in recovery put his return to the course on hold indefinitely, until he announced he hoped to play at the Safeway Open, the 2016-17 PGA Tour season opener. Further setbacks in his preparation also caused him to withdraw from that event, until Nov. 1 when he announced he would return this week for the Hero World Challenge.

Here he is on the range:

And here's video of Tiger on the range Wednesday before the pro-am round:

 

 

Tiger Woods still busy not playing

Despite his absence from competitive, Woods has remained close to the course, most notably during the 2016 Ryder Cup as an assistant captain to Davis Love III.

He's also drawn strong reviews for his golf course designs. Bluejack National, the first Tiger Woods-designed course to open in the United States, has been praised for its beauty and playability. The Houston-area course officially opened in April.

 

New equipment, sponsors? 

After the exit of Nike from the golf equipment game, it’s been a mystery where the company’s top athletes will head next for their clubs. Woods has been no exception. Rumors have swirled about what equipment he will play next. For the Hero World Challenge, it appears he will play his Nike irons and a TaylorMade M2 driver.

Also, after reports of Woods having a new bag sponsor, it's confirmed that Monster Energy is the new logo for this week's tournament.

As far as old equipment is concerned, Tiger addressed the media Tuesday and said his son, Charlie, is welcome to use any putter in the house — except two: