Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

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Woods returns at Hero World Challenge

Written by Bob Oliver on .

It is not one of golf's major championships. 

It's not even a regular season event. 

But the Hero World Challenge is clearly not some contrived made for TV golf event full of jokes as well as golf. It has a bonafide compact stellar field and is played on a fine course in the Bahamas. 

Justin Thomas is on hand, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose too. Jordan Spieth as well. In fact even the sponsor's exemptions into the 18-man field - Daniel Berger and some guy named Tiger Woods - are clearly not too shabby.

Okay, El Tigre was the guy picking the sponsor's exemption to his own tournament, but it is a winner just having His Excellency in the event. Tiger, off back surgery (again) hasn't played competitively since January. After surgery he's taken it slowly, nearly eight months in fact, but his game is coming back.

Of course, everyone wonders if Tiger can be, well, Tiger. Who knows. Time will tell. But in the meantime just having him tee it up under pro conditions against a stellar field is a great first move toward his rebirth. 

"We grew up watching Tiger dominate," admits Thomas, the reigning FedEx Cup Champion. "It's great he's coming back, and I know we all want him to come back and do well."

Given he does not have a competitive edge at this point, and undoubtedly will make mistakes, this event on a course he likes in a limited field allows him to take a deep breath and compete. Heck, while he probably wants to tear the course up, he more likely would loe to merely finish a couple strokes under par and without any unwanted twinges or hiccups. 

Here's hoping for a safe and productive week for the host.

CHIP SHOTS: Rickie Fowler, Matt Kutchar, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed, Hendrik Stenson and European Tour stars Alex Noren and Tommy Fleetwood are other World Ranking stars in the field...Tiger has been hindered by injuries since 2014, having played in only 17 PGA Tour events over three years, and only one last season.