Tiger Woods tees off in latest comeback bid

Tiger Woods' long-awaited return to competitive golf began on Thursday when he teed off in the first round of the Hero World Challenge at the Albany resort in the Bahamas.

With wind hard from the left on the 423-yard, par-4 opening hole, his first swing showed no limitations, as his booming 300-yard opening tee ball flirted with the sand on the left side of the fairway and -- maybe in a nod from the golf gods -- got a good kick that bounced the ball into the fairway, leaving him 99 yards to the hole.

From there, he pitched to approximately 15 feet and burned the left edge with his birdie putt.

He settled for an effortless par, and just like that he was off in the event he has won five times.

Woods - paired with US PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas - has been plagued by back problems that have resulted in four surgeries, the most recent in April.

The 41-year-old was excited to get back on the course after struggling with pain in recent years. Now the world's eyes will be watching how he fares for the rest of the opening round.

Woods hasn't won a tournament since 2013 (when he won five), and it may be unrealistic to expect him to contend right away, but the way he is swinging the club this week offers optimism that he may finally be back to stay.

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