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Tiger Woods is in go-mode.

Not our words, but the opinion of Stewart Cink after the 2009 Open winner’s recent chat with the 15-time major champion.

Woods, of course, has not played since withdrawing during the third round at the Masters in April following an aggravation of his plantar fasciitis injury.

On April 19, Woods underwent subtalar fusion surgery in New York to address the arthritis caused by that ankle issue.

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He has played in just five tournaments since his February 2021 single-car crash in Los Angeles and many thought we’d seen the last of him playing competitive golf.

But with Tiger, there’s always a chance. And with the 47-year-old back hitting balls again, everything is now pointing towards a return before the year is out.

So here’s a look at the the full Tiger timeline since that brutal Saturday at the Masters…

June 4: The first sighting 

The first public sighting of Woods post ankle surgery came at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida. He was still wearing a boot protecting his ankle, and the grainy shots showed him at the wheel of a golf cart, which was carrying crutches in the back.

But he was out on the course, at least, following son Charlie at a junior tournament. You get the feeling that watching Charlie’s own young career progress has been a good distraction for Woods while he wasn’t able to get a club in his hand.

August 12: A welcome development

This time at the Old Palm Golf Club in Florida, Woods was seen walking without a boot for the first time since hobbling out of Augusta National. Again supporting Charlie, one fan at the event claimed Woods “seemed to be walking fine.”

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August 22: Still in the cart

Such is Woods’ level of privacy these days, his army of fans have to rely on attendees at his son Charlie’s junior tournaments for precious updates when he is away from the limelight.

This time, junior golfer Tien Do, who was playing a Florida State Golf Association event alongside Charlie, posted a picture with his hero after managing to catch up with Woods after his round at the Old Palm. Woods was wearing a leg compression sleeve and was stretching on a golf cart while taking in the action on the course.

September 4: Walking the course

According to TW Legion, the Twitter/X account that follows every Woods move, he was walking the course at PGA National in South Florida, as he watched Charlie at another junior event. This time, with the leg compression sleeve still on, there wasn’t a cart in sight…

September 12: On the range 

This was where the real excitement started for Woods fans over a probable comeback.

Making one of his first public appearances since the Masters, Woods was taking part in a teaching clinic alongside Rickie Fowler and Will Zalatoris for his foundation’s Nexus Cup event at Liberty National.

Wearing shorts and his black compression sleeve, Woods hit occasional short game shots throughout the 20-minute clinic, including several one-handed chips. There wasn’t a full swing video to dig our teeth into just yet, though.

September 24: Charlie’s victory 

Tiger turned caddie again in late September as Charlie won big on the junior circuit.

Charlie, 14, nailed a ten-footer on the last to win his 14-15 age division of the Last Chance Regional by one shot to qualify for the prestigious Notah Begay III National Championship.

There was a trademark Woods fist pump from Charlie on 18, and Tiger, holding the flag on the green, was surely a proud father as his son got a taste of that familiar winning feeling.

October 7: Back on the course

Woods was spotted hitting full shots for the first time in six months at The Hay, the idyllic par-3 course at Pebble Beach which he helped redesign in 2021. He was in California for the inaugural TGR Junior Invitational and Woods unsurprisingly sent social media wild with clips striping wedges shots again.

October 31: The PGA Tour return

It is unclear whether Woods has played a full round of golf since the Masters. But he has at least made his return to a competitive PGA Tour event, albeit on a scouting mission of El Cardonal at Diamente in Mexico.  The course he designed back in 2014 is hosting the World Wide Technology Championship this week and Woods was spotted driving a golf cart to get a closer look around the layout in Cabo San Lucas.

Woods was also spotted testing the strength of his right leg down a steep flight of stairs in Mexico. His discomfort raised further questions about how plausible it is that he could walk 72 holes in a golf tournament again in the near future.

When will Tiger Woods make his comeback? 

There are only two realistic options here if, like many expect, Woods will be making a competitive appearance before the end of 2023.  He has conveniently left one spot open in his 18-player field at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas at the end of November.

However, a return seems most likely at the PNC Championship, the team event he has played in alongside Charlie for the last three years. That tournament in Orlando is played from December 14-17 and, crucially, would allow Woods to use a cart to the course.

Given he is still clearly in discomfort walking, and the PNC event is somewhat of a light-hearted affair, surely this is the ideal event for the Woods comeback.

“I don’t know what he’s practicing for, ” Cink admitted on the Golf Channel. We will find out very soon.

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Ben Parsons joined bunkered as a Content Producer in 2023 and is the man to come to for all of the latest news, across both the professional and amateur games. Formerly of The Mirror and Press Association, he is a member at Halifax Golf Club and is a long-suffering fan of both Manchester United and the Wales rugby team.

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