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Rumours of a Tiger Woods comeback this month are swiftly dismissed

Tiger Woods. Photo: Brian Snyder

Tiger Woods. Photo: Brian Snyder

Brian Keogh

Forget about Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka. Tiger Woods won’t be teeing it up in this week’s Hero World Challenge, but should he make the trip, his mere presence will be worth its weight in gold.

On Friday, Koepka hammered DeChambeau 5&3 in The Match in Las Vegas, but even if they start swinging punches in the Bahamas, they are unlikely to match the hype that surrounds 15-time Major winner Woods, who got 7.5 million views of a three-second video he posted of himself hitting an iron shot just over a week ago.

Las Vegas bookies are already taking four-figure bets on Woods returning from the devastating leg injuries he sustained in February’s car crash in California to win the Masters for a sixth time.

Despite scant evidence that he’s even close to coming back, there are reports that organisers of the Champions Tour’s PNC Championship have reserved a place for Woods and his son Charlie to appear in their event in Florida later this month, just in case.

Meanwhile, the winner of the $3.5million Hero World Challenge will take home $1 m, and while there is enormous interest in Woods’ health, Rory McIlroy’s explanation for his Incredible Hulk-style shirt ripping at the DP World Tour Championship is likely to feature near the top of the agenda in pre-tournament press conference questioning.

Defending champion Henrik Stenson’s thoughts on the 2023 Ryder Cup captaincy in Rome following Lee Westwood’s decision not to go for it will also brighten up a no-cut event featuring FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay and Olympic champion Xander Schauffele.

All the above have access to private jets, but following the discovery of the Omicron Covid variant in South Africa last week, players who decided to abandon the Joburg Open on Friday were still making their way home last night.

Niall Kearney got back to Dublin via Addis Ababa in Ethiopia and Amsterdam, while Paul Dunne got into Dubai just after midnight local time on Saturday morning.

All on the flight were Covid tested, and his result was negative, so he was not required to quarantine.

Cormac Sharvin and Jonathan Caldwell were understood to be en route to Dublin via Amsterdam last night after the European Tour charter was refused permission to land in Dubai on Saturday.

However, those who remained with the Tour charter were understood to be flying back to London through Nairobi to hotel quarantine for two weeks.

Elsewhere, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda closed with a five-under 67 to clinch a four-shot victory in Andalucía Costa del Sol Open de España.

Leading by three shots heading into the final day, the Solheim Cup star (31) followed in the footsteps of Azahara Muñoz in winning her national championship at Los Naranjos in Malaga.

The 31-year-old turned in four-under 32 before following eight pars with a birdie at the 18th to win her fifth LET title by four shots from Sweden’s Maja Stark on 15-under par.

“I’m very happy; it’s a tournament that I really wanted to win,” she said. “I love Spain and to win your country’s tournament is something very special, so I’m happy with the way I played.”

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