While Tiger Woods' return to competition remains unknown, former swing coach Hank Haney fully expects to see his former pupil tee it up later this year.
Speaking on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Haney didn't shy away from making a concrete prediction as to when Woods, 41, might make his first competitive swings after undergoing anterior lumbar interbody fusion surgery in April.
"They're going to toy with everybody, because it's just what they do. But he's playing at the Hero World Challenge," Haney said. "He's not going to wait until February to play again."
Held Nov. 30-Dec. 3, the Hero was the site of Woods' long-awaited return to competition a year ago. But that comeback lasted only three starts, as Woods has not played since withdrawing prior to the second round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February. Woods hosts the 18-man event, which has announced 16 players for its field but still has two sponsor exemption slots available.
Woods told reporters last month at the Presidents Cup that he could envision a scenario where he never plays again, but in recent weeks he has fueled speculation about a possible return one social media video at a time. The latest came on Monday, when he released a slow-motion video of himself hitting a "stinger" long-iron shot that he used frequently in his prime.
Much of that prime was spent with Haney by his side, as the two worked together from 2004-10 during which time Woods won 31 PGA Tour events, including six majors.