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Tiger Woods returns

/ 05:18 AM December 01, 2017

FILE – Tiger Woods AP

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA—In a move eagerly awaited by his diehard fans, Tiger Woods will play with a rebuilt back when he returns to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas beginning Thursday (early Friday in Manila).

Woods told reporters he was “now pain free” after spinal fusion surgery in April, his fourth since 2014. He will tee off for the first time since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February.

The winner of 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour titles, including five in 2013, Woods has made just three starts in two years. He has not made the cut at a tournament since the Wyndham Championship in late August of 2015.

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There is no cut at the Hero World Challenge to be played at Albany Golf Course. The elite 18-man field includes No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. 2 Jordan Spieth and No. 3 Justin Thomas, who sharpened their games idolizing Woods. The purse is $3.5 million, with the winner’s share at $1 million.

Woods says the tournament will enable him to gauge where his game is headed and determine whether he can be fit to play 72 holes on a regular basis.

His latest attempt to return to action overshadowed other noteworthy sports news in recent days involving superstars LeBron James and Blake Griffin of the NBA and Eli Manning of the NFL.

James was ejected for the first time in his NBA career last night in the waning minutes of a Cleveland win over Miami.

Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers suffered a brutal knee injury in his team’s victory Monday over their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers.

And quarterback Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts for the New York Giants will be broken Sunday because his coach has decided to bench him for a game against the Oakland Raiders.

I wish I could join former colleagues at the Philippines News Agency who will hold a reunion starting 2 p.m. Friday (Dec. 1) in Manila.

They will be hosted by Agriculture Sec. Emmanuel Piñol, an ex-PNA sports scribe in conference rooms 1 and 2 of the department’s new building in Quezon City.

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Mostly erstwhile reporters and desk editors, the group is striving to bring back the polish to the agency’s image tarnished recently by reporting flops.

Attendees will honor PNA’s first manager, the late media icon Jose L. Pavia, and start the ball rolling for a book about the agency’s glory days.

During Pavia’s stewardship, the PNA tried hard to be impartial as it could—a highwire act for a government-run news outfit during the martial law years.

Among the alums expected to attend are columnist Ramon Tulfo, past executive editor Severino Samonte, former Press Undersecretary Bobby Capco, book author Ben Cal and durable newsman Eddie Alinea.

Alinea, Philippine Star sports editor Lito Tacujan and I were PNA sportswriters during Pavia’s time. Chito Manuel, Reggie Amigo, Rey Bancod and the late Leo Reyes and Clarito Samson followed later.

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TAGS: Golf, Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods
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