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A step-by-step look at Tiger Woods' 2018 season

Tiger Woods returned to the big stage in December at the Hero World Challenge, an unofficial event on the PGA Tour calendar but a massive one for the sport. No one, including Woods himself, quite knew what to expect. He had not played since February. He was just seven months removed from back fusion surgery, which, by the way, was the fourth procedure he'd undergone on his back since 2014. He was 1,199th in the Official World Golf Rankings.

"I've been in bed for about two years and hadn't been able to do much," Woods said.

Then he played -- all four rounds. A second-round 65 indicated that maybe, just maybe, he wasn't going to just be able to play, but also compete.

A little less than two months later, he teed it up at the Farmers Insurance Open for his official start on the Tour. The comeback was on. This one hasn't ended quickly. The others were marked by WDs and trips to the operating room, but this return has been marked by hope and, given that it is Tiger Woods, growing expectations.

We track all his movements along the way this season as Woods tries to win again.

This week

The Open

Date: July 19-23
Site: Carnoustie Golf Links
Official World Golf Ranking entering the event: 71
Odds to win the event: 25-1

Tiger's outlook: He returns to The Open for the first time since 2015. Despite not being a factor at the season's first two majors, Woods, feeling more comfortable with a new putter in the bag, is confident. Despite Carnoustie's reputation as the most challenging of The Open venues, Woods thinks he can contend. "It's going to be an interesting test to see which clubs we're going to be using off the tees, and a lot of it is dependent on which way the wind blows," he said early in the week. "So the whole idea of these practice rounds is just to get a good feel for what I'm going to do, and then adjust accordingly based on wind."

Earlier this season ...

Quicken Loans National

Date: June 28-July 1
Site: TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm
Official World Golf Ranking entering the event: 79
Odds to win the event: 12-1

Scores

Round 1: 70
Round 2: 65
Round 3: 68
Round 4: 66
Finish: T-4

Tiger's takeaway
"
Oh, it was frustrating because I played better than what my score indicates ... I just didn't finish it off the right way."

U.S. Open

Date: June 14-17
Site: Shinnecock Hills
Official World Golf Ranking entering the event: 80
Odds to win the event: 16-1

Scores

Round 1: 78
Round 2: 72
Finish: Missed cut
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 79

Tiger's takeaway
"I'm not very happy the way I played and the way I putted. I'm 10 over par. So I don't know that you can be too happy and too excited about 10 over par."

The Memorial

Date: May 31-June 3
Site: Muirfield Village
Official World Golf Ranking entering the event: 83
Odds to win the event: 20-1

Scores

Round 1: 72
Round 2: 67
Round 3: 68
Round 4: 72
Finish: T-23
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 80

Tiger's takeaway
And if I just putt normally, I probably would be right up there with those guys and up there in the last couple of groups. Overall, if I just keep building on this, with how I'm hitting it right now, I'm in good shape for two weeks from now [at the U.S. Open].

The Players Championship

Date: May 10-13
Site: TPC Sawgrass (Stadium)
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 92
Odds to win the event: 30-1

Scores

Round 1: 72
Round 2: 71
Round 3: 65
Round 4: 69
Finish: T-11
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 80

Tiger's takeaway
"I got my playing feels back and it's just a matter of playing and executing and putting the shots together."

Wells Fargo Championship

Date: May 3-6
Site: Quail Hollow Golf Club
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 93
Odds to win the event: 25-1

Scores
Round 1: 71
Round 2: 73
Round 3: 68
Round 4: 74
Finish: T-55
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 92

Tiger's takeaway
"Again, I just did not putt well. I did not make a birdie [on Sunday]. I got shut out. ... I just didn't hit good putts. And on top of that, the ones I did hit well, they didn't have enough speed on them. It was just one of those weeks."

The Masters

Date: April 5-8
Site: Augusta National Golf Club
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 103
Odds to win the event: 12-1

Scores
Round 1: 73
Round 2: 75
Round 3: 72
Round 4: 69
Finish: T-32
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 88

Tiger's takeaway
"It's disappointing that I didn't hit the ball well enough. But to be able to just be out here competing again, if you had said that last year at this particular time, I would have said you're crazy. I had a hard time just sitting or walking. So now to be able to play and compete and hit the ball the way I did, that's quite a big change from last year."

Arnold Palmer Invitational

Date: March 15-18
Site: Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 149
Odds to win the event: 13-2

Scores
Round 1: 68
Round 2: 72
Round 3: 69
Round 4: 69
Finish: T-5
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 105

Tiger's takeaway
"If I can play with no pain and I can feel like I can make golf swings, I'll figure it out. I'm starting to piece it together tournament by tournament, and each tournament's gotten a little crisper and a little bit better."

Valspar Championship

Date: March 8-11
Site: Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead)
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 388
Odds to win the event: 25-1

Scores
Round 1: 70
Round 2: 68
Round 3: 67
Round 4: 70
Finish: T-2
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 149

Tiger's takeaway
"I was close. I had a chance [to win]. Unfortunately I just didn't quite feel as sharp as I needed to with my irons, played a little conservative because of it."

Honda Classic

Date: Feb. 22-25
Site: PGA National (Champion)
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 544
Odds to win the event: 60-1

Scores
Round 1: 70
Round 2: 71
Round 3: 69
Round 4: 70
Finish: 12
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 389

Tiger's takeaway
"I feel like each time out I've gotten better, and I've gotten more of a feel for playing tournament golf. The last couple days, it felt easy to play tournament golf. The warmup felt good. I get into the flow of the round. I could find the rhythm of the rounds faster. The more golf I'm playing tournament-wise, the faster I'm able to click into the feel of the round."

Genesis Open

Date: Feb. 15-18
Site: Riviera Country Club
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 550
Odds to win the event: 40-1

Scores
Round 1: 72
Round 2: 76
Finish: Missed cut
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 544

Tiger's takeaway
"I didn't really play that well. I missed every tee shot left, and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens, and consequently never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way."

Farmers Insurance Open

Date: Jan. 25-28
Site: Torrey Pines Golf Course (South)
Official World Golf Ranking entering the tournament: 647
Odds to win the event: 25-1

Scores
Round 1: 72
Round 2: 71
Round 3: 70
Round 4: 72
Finish: T-23
Official World Golf Ranking after the tournament: 539

Tiger's takeaway
"I can feel some of the things I'm doing wrong in my swing, so we're going to go back to work. It's nice to have two weeks off, but it's more important that I got this tournament under my belt where I can feel some of the things I need to work on, because hometown speed versus game speed is two totally different things. As much as we try to simulate it at home, it's never the same."