Tiger bogeys opening hole at his long-awaited return to the PGA. Photo: Andrew Gombert/BackpagePix

LA JOLLA – Tiger Woods launched his return to the US PGA Tour with a bogey at his opening hole at the Farmers Insurance Open on Thursday.

The 42-year-old superstar is playing his first Tour event since missing the cut at Torrey Pines last year -- part of an abortive comeback bid after a 2016 spent on the sidelines.

Morning clouds had given way to bright sunshine on the coastal course north of San Diego when Woods made his way through a healthy gallery to the first tee.

The 14-time major champion, whose eight titles at Torrey Pines include the 2008 US Open, was in the far left rough off the tee. From there he found the right greenside bunker, and was unable to get his 12-foot par putt to drop.

Woods warmed up for his return to the PGA Tour with a promising ninth-place finish in the 18-man Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.

But Torrey Pines figures to be a much tougher test of his stamina as well as his skills.

Woods says that after spinal fusion surgery in April he's playing without pain for the first time in years.

But whether Woods can make this comeback stick -- and reach a level that could see him add to his 79 US PGA Tour titles or renew his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 majors -- is a question percolating throughout the golf world.