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Tiger Woods sets 'tournament a month' target ahead of latest injury comeback at Hero World Challenge

Tiger Woods returns to action for the first time since withdrawing from The Masters when he plays at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas; Watch the opening round live on Thursday from 6.30pm on Sky Sports Golf

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Tiger Woods prepares for his return to golf after a long lay-off but says his surgery was a success

Tiger Woods believes playing up to a tournament a month next season is a “realistic” scenario and admits he will walk away from the sport when he no longer feels he can win events.

Woods has played a limited schedule since suffering career-threatening leg and ankle injuries in a car crash in February 2021, with the 15-time major champion making his latest comeback from injury at the Hero World Challenge.

The former world No 1 hasn't competed since having to undergo surgery on his ankle after withdrawing mid-tournament from The Masters in April, although Woods believes he can compete more frequently in 2024.

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Sky Sports' Paul McGinley looks forward to the return of Woods at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas

"I think that best scenario would be maybe a tournament a month," Woods said in his pre-tournament press conference. "I think that's realistic.

"We have set up right now, the biggest events are one per month. It sets itself up for that. Now I need to get myself ready for all that. I think this week is a big step in that direction."

Woods claimed the most recent of his 82 PGA Tour titles at the Zozo Championship in 2019 - having won The Masters earlier that year - and insists he still feels he can contend to win future events.

When asked whether being in the field meant he felt he could win, Woods simply said: "Absolutely."

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Woods added: "I love competing, I love playing. I miss being out here with the guys, I miss the camaraderie and the fraternity-like atmosphere out here and the overall banter. But what drives me is I love to compete.

"There will come a point in time, I haven't come around to it fully yet, that I won't be able to win again. When that day comes, I'll walk - well, now I can walk. I won't say run away, but I'm going to walk away."

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Woods took the last spot in the 20-man field for the no-cut event, which he hosts and benefits his foundation, with the 47-year-old unsure what to expect from his game in his latest comeback.

"My game feels rusty, I haven't played in a while," Woods admitted. "I'm excited to compete and play and I'm just as curious as all of you are to see what happens because I haven't done it in a while.

Tiger Woods (Associated Press)
Image: Woods heads into the week as world No 1,328

"I can tell you this, I don't have any of the pain that I had at Augusta or pre that in my ankle. Well, other parts are taking the brunt of the load, so I'm a little more sore in other areas, but the ankle's good. So that surgery was a success.

"It [the ankle] was bone on bone. The only way to fix that was to replace it or have it fused. The next part is the hard part. The six months of doing nothing. The first couple months were really rough. I'm here on the good side now."

Woods will have Rob McNamara as his caddie this week, having seen long-time bagman Joe LaCava switch to Patrick Cantlay earlier this year, although has yet to decide who will be his full-time caddie in 2024.

"As far as next year, I don't know yet," Woods explained. "I don't think Charlie [Woods, his son] is going to be able to caddie. Can't play hooky that often. I don't know. Honestly, I really don't know.

"I was just looking forward to this week and seeing how things turned out. I'm curious to see what 72 holes looks like on the body and my game and then try and set a schedule going forward into next year."

Watch the Hero World Challenge throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage begins on Thursday from 6.30pm on Sky Sports Golf. Stream the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, LPGA Tour and more with NOW.

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