Is Tiger Woods' comeback in PNC Championship reckless or right thing?

On the one hand, it looks reckless. But, on the other, it’s the perfect place for his comeback.

Tiger Woods and son Charlie during the pro-am ahead of the PNC Championship at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida. Picture: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images.
Tiger Woods and son Charlie during the pro-am ahead of the PNC Championship at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, Florida. Picture: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images.

This weekend’s PNC Championship in Florida, after all, allows Tiger Woods to use a buggy and the format is a scramble.

Last year, with a distinct advantage from the junior tees, son Charlie often hit drives that meant his dad didn’t have to bother.

How many tee shots Tiger actually hits on this occasion will be one of the most fascinating things about his appearance in the 36-holer at Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando.

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The 15-time major winner is teeing up in the event just 10 months after the car accident in Los Angeles that caused multiple fractures to his right leg.

In a press conference at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas a fortnight ago, Woods spoke about feeling lucky to be alive in the first instance and, secondly, avoiding an amputation.

He didn’t want to set targets for a return at that time, but things have moved on quickly, as we should all have probably expected in hindsight.

Tiger spent time that week in the Caribbean hitting balls on the range at Albany and, all of a sudden, the PNC Championship started to be mentioned.

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Tiger Woods hits balls on the range during the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course in the Bahamas a fortnight ago. Picture: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

His participation along with 12-year-old Charlie was confirmed last week, ensuring a huge television audience when they tee off in the first round on Saturday alongside defending champions Justin Thomas and his dad Mike.

What can we expect from Woods? According to Thomas snr, the former world No 1 has advanced quite a bit from being self-deprecating about how far he was hitting the ball.

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Tiger Woods: I'm grateful someone upstairs was taking care of me

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"It's crazy how good he's hitting it and how far he's hitting, for what he's been through," said Thomas, speaking on Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club.

Only time will tell when Woods will be ready to walk a full 18 holes again and it certainly seems to be asking a lot for him to be able to tackle somewhere like Augusta National in April.

A flatter test like the Old Course in St Andrews as it stages the 150th Open in July might be achievable, but what actually lies ahead in a proper competitive sense remains to be seen.

For now, it’s just about getting back to hitting some shots again and enjoying the chance to join forces with his son, who certainly lapped up their debut in the event 12 months ago.

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“I know spending time with Charlie is a huge deal to him,” said Justin Thomas. “So I know he's excited for that part.

"In terms of competing, I think his expectations are very low. But, at the same time, he is who he is for a reason, so I'm sure he'll be pissed off if he doesn't play well."

Women’s world No 1 Nelly Korda is making her debut in the event alongside dad Petr while former Open champion Henrik Stenson plays with his 11-year-old son, Karl.

“We were back in Sweden last year and watched Tiger and Charlie play it and I think that sparked a bit of interest for Karl,” said Stenson. “He was already keen on golf, but he thought ‘maybe I can play with my dad there.”

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