Tiger Woods on comeback trail

Tiger Woods says lack of back pain 'just remarkable' ahead of return

"I haven't really competed in two years, really", Woods said ahead of his first start since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic after round one in February. What remains to be seen, though, is whether his back can hold up for an entire tournament, an entire month and then an entire year (and beyond).

Tiger Woods spoke at a press conference Tuesday ahead of his comeback at this week's Hero World Championship starting on Thursday.

Early indications are that Woods is in a much better spot than when he returned a year ago in the Bahamas.

Woods said he has played practice rounds at home with the likes of Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson. He went through an in-patient treatment program to deal with prescription medication, and last month pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge that allowed him to avoid jail time.

"I would like to say that I am here to win this damn thing, but this is different. Now it is fantastic to come back and play with my friends, I call them kids actually". Thomas, also the victor of this year's FedEx Cup and PGA Championship in addition to being named the PGA's top player, is the +612 favourite as he plays the event for the first time.

"So as my back improved, I've been able to start sleeping again because I don't have the nerve pain going down my leg, I don't have my leg twitching all over the place, I don't have these issues anymore". I didn't realize how bad my back was. "Last year I was still struggling a little bit with pain".


"It could be the next step, I just don't know and that's tough to live with", Woods added to Golf Channel.

Woods' return this week will make it the 10th time he has returned from layoffs that were 10 weeks or longer. "He's been playing, I haven't been playing", Woods told reporters on Sunday.

The difference this time, Woods said, is that he doesn't feel pain, and he thinks now he can take on any shot.

Lewis also asked Woods if he considered retiring from the sport to which Woods responded, "I don't know if retirement is the word, but I didn't think I could ever play golf with my friends again because I spent most of past year in bed".

"I would love to give you a better answer but I just really don't know yet", the 14-time major victor told Golf Channel. "That's so exciting and I'm just so thankful I've had this procedure and have got to this point".

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