Tiger Woods
Woods' return from another back injury was marked with a dismal round in Windermere. Getty Images

Fourteen-time major champion Tiger Woods marked his return to golf with a wretched five-over par round of 77 to leave the former world number one in last place after the first day at the Hero World Challenge at Windermere.

Despite showcasing a new swing in his first competitive appearance since withdrawing from August's USPGA Championship with a recurrence of a back injury, Woods struggled from the outset with four bogeys and one double bogey to leave him in 18th place after round one.

Woods particularly struggled with his short game, with his chipping and putting undermining progress with his tee shots which the 38-year-old claimed he was hitting pain free having made a full recovery from undergoing back surgery in March 2014.

But that was a rare highlight during a harrowing round for Woods on just his ninth start of the year, and he already trails leader Jordan Spieth (-6) by 11 shots going into the second round on Friday.

"Today, it was weird," said Woods. "I didn't feel like I hit it that bad. My short game was awful, and I didn't make anything. It was one of those days where nothing went my way.

"It certainly is surprising that I could hit chips that poorly, I hit a lot of good shots, I got nothing out of it obviously. Some bad shots, some bad putts.

"I felt comfortable on a lot of the chip shots this week as I was playing practice rounds off the tighter spots. I hit terrible chips and that is something I need to work on when I get home. I've got three days. If I can get under par for tomorrow and hopefully have a good weekend."

Elsewhere, Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell is two shots adrift at -4 while Englishman Justin Rose ended in level par after birdies at 12 and 16 helped recover a round which had included a triple and a double bogey on the front nine.