Curiosity, hope and so many fans surround Tiger Woods in 2018

SAN DIEGO — Tiger Woods returned to competitive golf Thursday morning at 10:20 a.m. PST, but the actual moment he returned as a competitor came a bit later. On the par-3 16th hole of the Torrey Pines South Course, Woods came within a few inches of a hole-in-one. In the covered grandstand parallel to the green, amid the convergence of the well-heeled and the over-served, the appearance of the ball so close to the cup was a near religious experience. The roar was emphatic and prolonged, and when it died down just enough an undeniably local voice shouted, “Dude, that’s what Tiger brings!” as if he’d been saying it all day long and couldn’t, until now, find anyone to believe him.