Tiger Woods will not pursue surgery on the foot injury that saw him withdraw from this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

The 15-time major champion was due to play his first competitive event since missing the cut at The Open back in July but has been suffering with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Woods had been scheduled to play three events in December, though it remains to be seen if he will play at all. 

The legendary American had been aiming to up his workload having played only three times last season due to the broken leg he sustained in a car accident in February 2021.

He explained that his latest issue will be treated with a "stretch and relax" method rather than going under the knife.

"You don’t want to go down the surgical route," Woods told the Golf Channel. "Injections, surgical, or just stretch and relax, and I chose to stretch and relax.

"Get off your feet, which I have done and continue to do. Also sleep at night with a boot on; try to stretch it out."

The injury, according to the PGA Tour's official website, affects around two million people in the United States and causes a stabbing pain near the heel as a result of an inflammation of a thick band of tissue.

Woods explained how playing full 18-hole rounds is tricky with the injury.

"When you first step out of bed, it's like, 'Oh my God'," he added.

"It's just a long haul. I just can't walk for too long a period of time."

Viktor Hovland is looking to win back-to-back Hero World Challenge titles and started his week on the right track, finishing Thursday's opening round in a four-way tie for the lead at three under.

The small field boasts 20 of the PGA Tour's top talents, with Tiger Woods hosting the event at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas.

Winner of the 2021 edition, Hovland posted an impressive eagle on the par-four 14th hole to go with his two birdies and one bogey to share the lead through 18 holes.

Norway's top golfer is joined by 20-year-old South Korean phenom Tom Kim, America's Collin Morikawa, and Austria's Sepp Straka, with the latter coming in as the late replacement for Woods following his withdrawal due to plantar fasciitis.

Kim, who already has two PGA Tour wins under his belt, was the only of the foursome to not make a single bogey.

They are one stroke clear of Sam Burns alone in fifth at two under, with Cameron Young, Max Homa and Tommy Fleetwood tied for sixth at one under.

World number two Scottie Scheffler is joined by two-time major champion Justin Thomas as part of the group at even par, while Jon Rahm is at one over, and Matt Fitzpatrick is at two over.

Corey Conners is alone in 19th at three over, and Jordan Spieth is dead last and the only player at four over.

It's officially Tony Finau's world. The rest of us are just living in it.

The 33-year-old continued his winning ways last month at the Cadence Bank Houston Open, steam rolling the competition en-route to a four-shot victory. It was his third PGA Tour victory over his last 30 starts after the Utah native won just once in his first 185 tournaments.

"This is definitely the most all parts of my game have been clicking, but I would say I've played a lot of good golf for a while," Finau said afterward. "I didn't have a lot of wins to show for it, but I've pieced together a game and that's what you have to do out here.

"I feel like I've been a very solid player for a long time, but it's exciting for me that I'm getting better and that's all I can ask of myself is try and get better in the areas that I really need to.

"And then remember why you are where you are. I think I don't go too far away from the DNA of my game and how I see the game and I think I'm kind of bearing the fruits of how I see the game now and I'm able to hit the shots that I can see, which is pretty cool."

The DNA of Finau's game has been easy to identify – putting and driving. Simple enough, right?

At the Houston Open, Finau finished with a 75 percent driving accuracy for the week, the fourth time in his five TOUR wins he's accomplished that feat.

Amazingly, it was the worst percentage among all his recent victories – he finished with a 76.8 percent accuracy at this year's 3M Open, a 78.6 percent accuracy at the 2021 FedEx St. Jude Championship, and a career-best 82.1 percent accuracy at the Rocket Mortgage Classic earlier this summer.

"Probably the best driving week I've had in my career, at least that's how I felt,” Finau said. "For the first time in my career I hit all 13 fairways, 100 percent of fairways in regulation. I've never done that in my career, so definitely drove the ball.

Tiger Woods has hailed Rory McIlroy's leadership on the PGA Tour, after a busy year that saw the Northern Irishman impress on and off the course.

McIlroy has led the fight against the LIV Golf breakaway across 2022, while he has also returned to number one in the world rankings.

Woods echoed McIlroy's calls for LIV chief Greg Norman to step down earlier this week, in order to help heal golf's bitter civil war.

Now though, the 15-time major winner has expressed his wholehearted admiration for his fellow tour favourite, highlighting the respect he commands among his fellow players.

"What Rory has said and done are what leaders do," Woods said.

"Rory is a true leader out here on tour.

"The fact he's able to get things in the public eye, be so clear-minded and eloquent with it, [and then] go out there and win tournaments on top of that, people have no idea how hard that is, to be able to separate those two things.

"He's been fantastic. He's a great leader in our calls we make, and he's a great leader with all the players out here.

"Everyone respects him, and they respect him because not just his ball-striking, his driving, but the person he is."

Woods also assuaged McIlroy's earlier fears that he had given him COVID-19 on the eve of the Open Championship earlier this year, after the latter made the disclosure in an interview.

"I got tested," he added. "I was always negative. I was feeling under the weather, yes, but I never got a positive test."

Woods and McIlroy are set to partner each other in The Match later this month, with the former hoping to be fit after his withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge this week with a foot problem.

Tiger Woods has become the latest major figure on the PGA Tour to say LIV Golf's Greg Norman must leave to allow peace to break out as the sport's civil war persists.

The 15-time major winner has backed up world number one Rory McIlroy's comments for the Australian to stand down in order to help heal the divide.

Norman, the CEO and face of the Saudi-funded breakaway tour, has been a prominent figure amid a bitter split in golf, with several of the world's leading players defecting to the rival series and with lawsuits between both parties.

McIlroy already said the chance of a compromise between both tours was unlikely as long as Norman remained in place, and now Woods has echoed his words.

"I see that there's an opportunity out there if both organisations put a stay on their litigation, but that's the problem, they've got to put a stay on it," Woods stated ahead of the Hero World Challenge.

"Whether or not they do that or not, there's no willingness to negotiate if you have a litigation against you.

"So if they both have a stay and then have a break, and then they can meet and figure something out, then maybe there is something to be had.

"But I think Greg has to go, first of all, and then obviously litigation against us and then our counter-suit against them, those would then have to be at a stay as well. Then we can talk, we can all talk freely."

Woods was set to play in the Hero World Challenge this week, but he withdrew after developing a foot problem.

He is still set to partner McIlroy at The Match later this month and then play with son Charlie at the PNC Championship.

Tiger Woods' return to competitive golf has been delayed after he announced on Monday that he has withdrawn from this week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

Woods, 46, is also the host of the highly anticipated event, which features a small field consisting of 20 elite players, including world number two Scottie Scheffler, as well as major champions Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

Arguably the greatest golfer of all time, Woods was scheduled to take part in three events in December, but the announcement of his foot injury on social media has put all three in jeopardy.

His statement says: "In my preparation and practice for this week's Hero World Challenge, I've developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, which is making it difficult to walk.

"After consulting with my doctors and trainers, I have decided to withdraw this week and focus on my hosting duties.

"My plan is to still compete in The Match and PNC Championship."

Woods, who has not played competitively since failing to make the cut at The Masters in July, will not have long to recover.

He is scheduled to partner up with Rory McIlroy to take on the pair of Thomas and Spieth on December 10 for The Match, and just five days later he hopes to team up with his son, Charlie, in the PNC Championship.

With his withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge, Austria's Sepp Straka will take his place.

Adam Svensson played the weekend of his life to claim his maiden PGA Tour victory, fighting back from a one-over opening round to win the RSM Classic with a score of 19 under.

Canadian Svensson the competition on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Resort and struggled, but he found much more success on the Seaside Course following his opening round.

After posting a 64 on Friday, he followed that with the best round on Saturday, two strokes better than anybody else with his eight-under 62.

He continued that momentum on Sunday, going bogey-free with six birdies to equal the day's top round again, including back-to-back birdies on the 16th and 17th holes to turn a four-way tie atop the leaderboard into a two-stroke lead.

Svensson, 28, had not secured a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour until last season, collecting three, and with a par on the 18th hole he secured the first win of his career in his 70th start.

Speaking to the media after stepping off the final green, he was emotional as he reflected on his journey to this point.

"To be honest, it's not even real right now," he said. "I'm just so happy, I put so much work in. To win on the PGA Tour – it means everything to me.

"It's been an up-and-down journey, I've had lows, I've had highs, but I kept believing in myself, and here I am."

In a three-way tie for second was England's Callum Tarren, along with American duo Sahith Theegala and Brian Harman.

Recent winner of the Bermuda Championship, Seamus Power, was two further back at 15 under in a tie for fifth, and he was joined by a group that included 23-year-old Cole Hammer, who rode the opening-round lead to the best finish of his career.

Patrick Rodgers and Ben Martin produced excellent third rounds to share the lead heading to the final day of the RSM Classic at St Simons Island in Georgia.

Rodgers and Martin carded rounds of 64 and 65 respectively as the tournament moved entirely to the par-70 Seaside Course, having been split between that and the par-72 Plantation Course on the opening two days.

After a bogey on the second hole on Saturday, Rodgers made seven birdies, including four in a row from the 13th to the 16th holes to move 14 places up a busy leaderboard from his starting position.

Rodgers, 30, has yet to claim a PGA Tour-level title and lost in a play-off on the second hole in the 2018 RSM Classic to Charles Howell III.

Martin, whose last and only PGA Tour title was in 2014, would have had the solo lead but bogeyed the par-four 18th hole, blemishing his six-birdie round which was bogey-free until that point.

The American pair of Rodgers and Martin reached 14 under overall, to lead by one from three players including Canadian Adam Svensson, who began at the 10th and enjoyed the round of the day, carding an eight-under 62 with six birdies on his back nine and an eagle on the par-five 15th hole.

Andrew Putnam, who had been in a three-way joint lead at the halfway mark, also stood at 13 under with Svensson and Sahith Theegala.

Seven players were a further stroke back at 12 under, including Brian Harman, Taylor Montgomery and Harry Higgs, the latter who had been alongside Putnam in the lead after two days and rallied during his third round after three bogeys in his opening five holes.

The other halfway leader, Cole Hammer, dropped down the leaderboard to a tie for 17th after a two-over 72 that included bogeys on the third and fourth holes, along with a double bogey on the fifth.

Through two rounds – one on each of Sea Island Resort's two courses – Cole Hammer, Andrew Putnam and Harry Higgs lead the RSM Classic field with a score of 12 under.

In a unique format, this tournament has half of the field play the par-70 Seaside Course and the other half play the par-72 Plantation Course in the first round, before swapping for the second round.

After earning the solo lead by shooting an eight-under 64 on Thursday's trip around the Plantation Course, Hammer still produced seven birdies on the Seaside Course, but three bogeys on the front-nine allowed others to join him at the top.

Both Higgs and Putnam shot rounds of seven under, albeit on different courses. Higgs went bogey-free for a 63 at the Seaside Course, and Putnam went bogey-free until his final hole, blowing a chance to head into the weekend with the outright lead.

Of the five players to shoot better than seven under on Friday, all five did it on the Plantation Course, including Joel Dahmen with his eight-under 64 to jump up to a tie for fourth at 11 under, where he is joined by Sahith Theegala.

The other eight-under rounds came from South Korea's Noh Seung-yul, tied for fourth at 10 under, as well as Ben Martin and Will Gordon, one further back at nine under.

The round of the day came from Akshay Bhatia, following his three-over 73 with a nine-under 63.

Some of the bigger names in the field will not be participating on the weekend as former world number one Jason Day missed the cut by three strokes, and former Masters champion Danny Willett withdrew after his three-over opening round.

The remaining two rounds will both be played at the Seaside Course.

Cole Hammer is the leader after the first round of the RSM Classic, enjoying his only round for the week at Sea Island Resort's Plantation course on Thursday to post an eight-under 64.

The RSM Classic utilizes two courses at Sea Island Resort – the par-72 Plantation course, and the par-70 Seaside course. Each competitor will get one round on each course before the cut heading into the weekend, with the final two rounds to be played on the Seaside course.

Starting on the back-nine, 23-year-old Hammer posted nine birdies and seven pars from his first 16 holes, before his first blemish came with a bogey on the 17th to finish alone atop the leaderboard at eight under.

In second place is Ben Griffin, who also played the Plantation course, going bogey-free for his seven-under 65.

Beau Hossler and Callum Taren are tied for third after shooting six-under 64s on the Seaside course, with that appearing as the harder of the two tracks. 

There is a logjam tied for sixth at five under, and of the 16 payers to shoot five under or better, only four – Hossler, Taren, Chris Gotterup and Andrew Putnam – did it on the Seaside course.

Rising talent Sahith Theegala and recent winner of the Bermuda Championship Seamus Power are one further back at four under, with Italy's Francesco Molinari and Canada's Taylor Pendrith at three under.

It was a tough day out for some of the field's biggest names, with former Masters champion Danny Willett struggling to three over on the Seaside course, while former world number one Jason Day had similar issues on his way to four over.

The shot of the day went to Webb Simpson, who took advantage of his only round this week at the Plantation course with an ace on the par-three third hole. 

Jon Rahm described Rory McIlroy taking a stand against the LIV Golf Invitational Series while still performing at the highest level as "remarkable" and discussed how joining the breakaway circuit may impact Sergio Garcia's legacy.

McIlroy claimed his third FedEx Cup in August and is hoping to cap a fine year by winning the DP World Tour Championship this week, but his off-course actions have been equally noteworthy.

The world number one has been a vocal critic of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed LIV circuit, and called for the series' divisive chief executive Greg Norman to resign this week.

Speaking ahead of the tournament in Dubai, world number five Rahm hailed McIlroy's efforts to defend the PGA Tour this year. 

"It's great to see somebody with his platform take a stand as he did, whether you agree with it or not, he's taken a stand on what he believes in and that's it - I think it's great," Rahm said.

"He's had a lot of input. He's been on the board of the PGA Tour and tried to make a change.

"To be honest, with how long those meetings are and how much as players we talk to each other, to play as good as he has is pretty remarkable.

"In this profession, we are all basically CEOs of our own little golf company, and now he has invested in so much more. Again, the role he's had in both [on and off the course] is quite incredible."

Rahm's compatriot Garcia became one of the most high-profile players to resign his PGA Tour membership while switching to LIV Golf this year.

The 2021 U.S. Open champion hopes the legacy of his fellow Spaniard is not tarnished by that decision.

"I hope not, it's very unprecedented, what we've been dealing with in the game of golf and it hasn't even been that long," Rahm added.

"It could have somewhat of an impact. I have a hard time believing a lot of those [LIV] players are going to have a positive impact on their legacy right now.

"We don't know what's going to happen, but if it does [have an impact on Garcia's legacy], I hope it's not a big one, let's say it that way.

"He's done a lot for the game of golf, so it would be sad to see that change.

"There's certainly going to be a before and after at some point, and there's definitely some division going on.

"It still shouldn't change what he's done in the game; what he's done in the Ryder Cup, European Tour, PGA Tour, shouldn't be affected by where he decides to play golf, at least in my mind."

Meanwhile, LIV Golf has continued to push for the ability to award world rankings points, and while Rahm is not against that idea, he says the tour must meet the stated requirements.

"We need to stop giving LIV the publicity. They are not asking for it. That's the first thing I'm going to say," Rahm said.

"A lot of people are against them having World Ranking points. I'm not necessarily against it, but there should be adjustments. 

"If your requirement to have World Ranking points is 72 holes and a cut, maybe you don't award them 100 per cent of the points, since they are not fulfilling all the requirements. 

"I also believe it's probably a couple-year process, so they need to respect that as every other tour has. 

"They do have some incredible players. To say that Dustin [Johnson] wasn't one of the best players this year would be a mistake. So, I think they could be awarded. I don't know if they necessarily deserve 100 per cent."

Rory McIlroy has called for Greg Norman to leave his role as chief executive of the LIV Golf Invitational Series to end the "stalemate" engulfing the sport.

World number one McIlroy has been one of the most prominent critics of the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed circuit, which is locked in legal cases against both the PGA and DP World Tours.

McIlroy called for LIV to do more to end the bitter feud between the circuits in September, declaring: "the ball is in their court".

However, Norman said he had "no interest" in sitting down for talks with the PGA that same month and McIlroy believes his presence is harming the sport.

"Greg needs to go. He needs to exit stage left," McIlroy said ahead of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

"He's made his mark, but I think now is the right time to say you've got this thing off the ground but no one's going to talk unless there's an adult in the room that can actually try to mend fences.

"There are obviously two lawsuits going on at the minute. There's the PGA Tour versus LIV and there's obviously this one that's coming up with the DP World Tour in February.

"Nothing can happen if those two things are going on. Right now, it is a bit of a stalemate."

The need to compete with LIV Golf has prompted the PGA Tour to increase prize funds for next year, leading Norman to suggest McIlroy and Tiger Woods – another critic of LIV Golf – should be "thankful" for what the breakaway circuit has brought to the game.

However, McIlroy believes everyone in golf should instead direct their gratitude towards 15-time major champion Woods.

"I've said this a million times, Tiger is the reason that we are playing for as much as we are playing for," McIlroy added. "Tiger is the reason that the stature of our game is where it is.

"The generation of Tiger and the generation coming after Tiger have all benefited from him and his achievements and what he's done for the game of golf.

"I don't think Tiger should be thankful to anyone for anything. I think everyone else in the game should be thankful."

Tony Finau collected the third win from his past seven PGA Tour starts as he cruised to a convincing four-stroke triumph at the Houston Open on Sunday.

Finau's four-stroke lead was the same buffer he held coming into the final trip around Memorial Park Golf Course after posting rounds of 65, 62 and 68.

After winning back-to-back events in July at the 3M Open and the Rocket Mortgage Classic, Finau – who finished with a final-round score of 16 under – has now won more titles in his past seven starts than he did in his first 211 to begin his career (two).

Speaking to NBC after stepping off the final green, Finau admitted he was not comfortable in such an unfamiliar position with a giant lead.

"It feels great – honestly, on the first hole I didn't know if I had it in me today," he said. "It was one of those days where I just fought, and fought, and I made a lot of nice putts on the front-nine to calm me into things.

"I've never been in this position before, with that big of a lead with nine holes to play. A lot of new nerves, I would say, but overall as the round went on I felt better, and I'm just happy to get the 'W' today.

"I've always had belief, but the confidence when you win is contagious. I've always been a very hopeful person, I work extremely hard on my body and my game, and now I'm starting to bear the fruits of that labour. It feels amazing to have that be the case.

"You never know what's going to happen in this game, but you always try to put your best foot forward, that's what I've done over the years, and I'm starting to put together a pretty full-package game."

Alone in second place at 12 under was Tyson Alexander, who had never previously finished better than tied for 44th in his seven PGA Tour starts.

Ben Taylor was the only player at 11 under in third, and there was a further three-stroke gap to the rest of the field.

World number two Scottie Scheffler finished tied for ninth at six under for his second consecutive top-10 finish, while former world number one Jason Day was one further back.

Tony Finau was solid without being spectacular as he carded a two-under round on the third day at the Houston Open to maintain his four-stroke lead on Saturday.

Finau led by four shots at the halfway point after 10 birdies in Friday's eight-under 62, but the American kept it steady with a bogey-free round that included only two birdies at Memorial Park Golf Course on Saturday.

The main contenders, Patrick Rodgers and Alex Noren, both carded three-over 73s to drop well off the pace at six-under overall but Englishman Ben Taylor emerged into second on moving day.

Taylor looms as the only potential challenger for Finau (15-under overall) ahead of the final day, shooting six birdies in his five-under round-of-the-day 65 to move up the leaderboard into 11-under overall.

The Englishman buried a 21-foot closing birdie putt to finish the day on a high and keep the pressure on Finau.

Taylor is three strokes clear of the next best, with three players tied at eight under; Justin Rose, Wyndham Clark and Tyson Alexander. Gary Woodland and Joel Dahmen are seven under.

World number two Scottie Scheffler could not mount any kind of challenge, with a double bogey on the 16th hole followed by a bogey on the 18th leaving him with one-over 71 to be three-under overall.

Last year's Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama withdrew after nine holes on Saturday due to a neck injury but was not in contention.

Tony Finau enjoyed a spectacular second round at the Houston Open, shooting an eight-under 62 to open up a four-stroke lead on the chasing field heading into the weekend.

Finau was the joint-leader after the opening round, and he went even better in his second trip around Memorial Park Golf Course, sinking 10 birdies to go with two bogeys.

Fresh off his first PGA Tour season with multiple wins – including a career-high four top-two finishes – Finau is in prime position to make a run at his fifth title.

Alone in second at nine under is Patrick Rodgers, who followed his opening 68 with an impressive 63, as only he and Finau completed rounds of 63 or better before the weather arrived.

Joint-leader from the first round, Alex Noren is one further back at eight under, although he had three holes remaining when play was called off.

Noren is joined by Tyson Alexander, while China's Carl Yuan and America's James Hahn are the only players tied for fifth at seven under.

There is a seven-man logjam tied for seventh at six under, but Aaron Wise and Trey Mullinax will have their sights set higher before they begin their third rounds, with six holes still to play.

After a disappointing even-par 70 to open his week, world number two Scottie Scheffler is enjoying a five-under round through 13 holes, sinking an eagle on the par-five 12th right before his round was interrupted.

Former world number one Jason Day will likely see the weekend as he is tied for 37th at two under with six holes remaining, while his playing partner and former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama is one further back sitting right on the edge of the cut-line.

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