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PGA Golf

Tiger Woods eyeing December return at his foundation’s Hero World Challenge event

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While heeding his doctor’s advice on not overdoing it too much, Tiger Woods is back on the range hitting golf balls and has set his sights on returning to the course for competitive play in time to participate in the Hero World Challenge, an annual event that raises money for the Tiger Woods Foundation.

Woods previously spoke in September about how his plan all along was to be back in time for the Hero World Challenge, set to take place Dec. 3-7 at the Isleworth Golf & Country Club.

“The design was to start making golf swings either late September or early October, then if I started early October I’d have two full months to prepare to play the Hero World Challenge,” Woods said on Sept. 15 at a media day to promote the tournament. “I’m right on that timeline, so that’s perfect.”

Woods definitely has remained on that timeline. His agent, Mark Steinberg, wrote in a text message to ESPN.com’s Bob Harig that Woods is only doing what he is comfortable with while taking into account the recommendations of his medical advisers.

He is “still listening to his doctors,” Steinberg reportedly texted. “Hitting balls and doing as much as he feels good with.”

Woods’ 2014 season was marred by injuries, playing in only eight events worldwide. And each one featured some semblance of struggles. He has not played a competitive round of golf since the PGA Championship on Aug. 8, when he missed the cut.

After undergoing microdiscectomy surgery for a pinched nerve in his back in March, a procedure that caused him to miss the Masters and U.S. Open this season. His play in the British Open and PGA Championship were far below his expectations.

Woods arguably returned to competition too soon, so the hope is he will take that into account as he stages yet another comeback from nagging injuries that have plagued the 38-year-old for the past several years.

It would be fitting for Woods to make his return at his own event. A similar scenario played out earlier this year when Woods made his comeback following surgery at the Quicken Loans National in June, another tournament with which his foundation has an affiliation. Woods definitely rushed back for that event, it remains to be seen if makes the same mistake twice.