WINDERMERE, Fla. - Tiger Woods returned to competition Thursday and it was as if he never left - except that he looked healthy.
Woods flubbed four chips around the green, had only four birdie chances inside 20 feet, and stumbled to a 5-over 77 in the opening round of the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth, his home course for the first 16 years of his pro career.
He was in last place among the 18-man field, already 11 shots behind Jordan Spieth, who is coming off a runaway win last week in the Australian Open.
"One of those days where nothing went my way," Woods said.
The score was not nearly as significant as his health in what has been a lost year for Woods because of back problems. He had surgery a week before the Masters that kept him out for three months. He had not played since Aug. 9 at the PGA Championship.
He flubbed one chip behind the eighth green on his way to double bogey and a 41 on the front nine. After his lone birdie at No. 12 - a wedge that spun back to tap-in range - Woods blasted a driver and hit a long iron that came up just short of reaching the top ridge. Instead, it rolled off the green and into a steep collection area.
His first pitch was too soft and rolled back down toward his feet. Woods came in too steep on the next pitch and the ball moved only a few feet forward, leading to his second double bogey. And on the par-5 17th, he was in another swale pin-high in two and flubbed his fourth chip, angrily swinging the club and turning his back while the ball slowly rolled back to his feet. He had to make a 10-footer for par.