The most recent layoff was caused by fusion surgery on his lower back, his fourth back surgery since March 2014.
Woods only started taking full swings two months ago, though he has reported no pain in his back. The Hero World Challenge has an 18-man field with no cut.
A year ago, Woods returned after missing 15 months because of two back surgeries.
He made 24 birdies but still finished in 15th place.
A look at his comebacks:
2003 BUICK INVITATIONAL
Arthroscopic knee surgery at the end of 2002 season.
Runner-up at the Target World Challenge.
Won by four shots, the first of five PGA Tour victories.
Played a full schedule for the next five years.
2006 US OPEN
Tied for third at the Masters, three shots out of the lead.
Missed the cut for the first time in a major. He would win the final two majors of the year.
Played a full schedule the next two years.
2009 WGC-ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY
Reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
Won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines for his 14th major.
Beat Brendan Jones in opening round, lost in the second round to Tim Clark. He won two starts later at Bay Hill.
Played a full schedule of 20 events.
2010 MASTERS Age: 34.
Won the Australian Masters.
Tied for fourth, five shots out of the lead.
He was tied for the lead going to the back nine.
Played 16 events in 2010.
2011 WGC-BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL
Withdrew from The Players Championship after a 42 on the front nine.
Tied for 37th, 18 shots out of the lead. It was his second straight year finishing 18 shots behind or worse at Firestone Country Club.
Six events the remainder of 2011, full schedule in 2012 and 2013.
2014 QUICKEN LOANS NATIONAL
Tie for 25th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, nine shots out of the lead.
Missed the cut with rounds of 74-75.
2014 HERO WORLD CHALLENGE
Recovery from back surgery.
Missed the cut in the PGA Championship with rounds of 74-74 at Valhalla.
Struggled with his chipping. Tied for 17th in an 18-man field, 26 shots out of the lead.
Withdrew from Farmers Insurance Open after 11 holes. He was 2-over par and tied for 130th.
Tie for 17th, 13 shots out of the lead. Jordan Spieth tied his 72-hole scoring record that he had set 18 years ago.
2016 HERO WORLD CHALLENGE
Two back surgeries:
Tie for 10th in the 2015 Wyndham Championship.
Finished 15th against an 18-man field, 14 shots out of the lead. Made 24 birdies.
2017 HERO WORLD CHALLENGE
Fourth back surgery.
Withdrew after a 77 in the first round of Dubai Desert Classic because of back spasms.
Tournament starts Thursday.
To be determined.