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QUICK TAKE: Woods (68) Penning A Mesmerizing Bahamas Tale

Tiger Woods during the second round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany. (Photo credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

For a few moments early Friday afternoon, it was there.

Tiger Woods was leading the Hero World Challenge.

Social media was sizzling with the news.

Friday afternoon golf from the Bahamas had become must-see viewing.

If Woods’ opening 69 in his return to competitive golf on Thursday had been a pleasant surprise, his second-round 68 offered more reassuring reinforcement that perhaps this will be the comeback that lasts.

Woods is just two rounds into a 72-hole, 18-player event that feels more like an exhibition than a full-on work week but he’s already accomplished one of his essential challenges – he’s answered more questions than he has raised about the state of his game going forward.

Asked Friday what he has shown himself so far, Woods said, “I proved that the surgery was successful. The rehab has been fantastic. Now I have a chance to go out and play competitive golf again.”

Woods hasn’t been perfect but he’s been surprisingly solid. The short game questions that surfaced Thursday were answered emphatically with a handful of top-shelf pitch shots Friday. He wrestled at times with the quick greens but he wasn’t alone. His misses weren’t big, they were manageable.

Woods shot 31 on the front side, jumping briefly into the lead with an eagle at the par-5 ninth at Albany, but he couldn’t sustain his momentum on the second nine and finds himself five behind leader Charley Hoffman but still in contention.

It will be interesting to see if Woods can stay close to the lead on the weekend, how he plays and how the others handle having him nearby. This won’t be like a U.S. Open weekend at Shinnecock Hills but it will be a gauge for Woods, who must be pleased with what he’s shown to this point.

There are next steps ahead. Playing in an official PGA Tour event with a cut. Feeling the heat of being in contention again. Chasing another major championship.

But that’s getting ahead of what is a mesmerizing story.

“I just came back,” Woods said. “I still have a long way to go. A lot more practice, a lot more training and more tournaments.”


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