Tiger Woods set to play The Match despite sore foot

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Tiger Woods, who hasn’t played a competitive round of golf since July, is set to return to action on Saturday night in The Match in Belleair, Fla., despite an ailing right foot. Woods will team with top-ranked Rory McIlroy to compete against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth in a 12-hole competition at Pelican Golf Club.

The match-play event will use a best-ball format, with the best individual score winning each hole.

Last week, Woods was scheduled to play in the Hero World Challenge at New Providence, Bahamas, but he withdrew because of foot soreness. He is still struggling with plantar fasciitis in the foot but will get around the course this week in a cart.

“I can hit golf balls,” Woods said. “It’s just hard getting from point A to point B, so (the cart) will certainly help a lot. … “Being in a cart is a totally different deal. That’s something I’ve done at home … quite a bit. When I was trying to gear up and be able to play in the Hero and see if I could actually do it, the walking part was the challenge, it wasn’t actually swinging.”

The last time the public saw Woods play was at the Open Championship at St. Andrews, where he missed the cut. He played in just two other events in 2022, placing 47th at the Masters and withdrawing from the PGA Championship after the third round.

He will get to compete with a partner this week.

“I can tell you one thing,” Woods said. “I have the No. 1 player on my team, so I’m good.”

McIlroy had praise for Woods, too.

“He’s probably the best iron player that’s ever lived … probably the best golfer that’s ever lived. Period. I think if he can just get it out in the fairway, and get some looks in the fairway, I think we’re going to have a really good chance.”

Thomas and Spieth are favoured to win the event, with odds ranging from -125 to -130 at numerous sportsbooks. Woods and McIlroy are underdogs at even odds to +110.