Tiger Woods Faces Long Odds

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.

Woods will make his golfing comeback at this week's Hero World Challenge on the PGA Tour, a tournament he also hosts, as a member of the elite 18-man field. "I thought I had some speed, thought I was playing halfway decent, shot some good scores, but now I've looked back and I didn't have much at all".

Woods only started to take full swings two months ago, but according to Rickie Fowler, Woods is out-distancing him in practice rounds.

After his Memorial Day arrest, the 14-time major champion said in a statement that alcohol was not involved but that he had an "unexpected reaction" to prescription medication.

"I was trying to sleep, which I hadn't done in a very long time because of the things I've been dealing with", he said.

"I've come out the other side and I feel fantastic. Looking back on it now, it looked like I was playing in slow-mo". I am stiffer. Of course, (my lower back is) fused. Woods was priced at +1600 to win this event, but has dropped to +1200 on the golf odds board.

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

For the first time in almost 10 months, Tiger Woods will tee up in a competitive golf event this week. I miss playing golf with my friends.

During Tiger Woods' most dominant days on the PGA Tour, he presented a surly figure, closed off from the world, rarely giving more than a phrase during interviews.

"This surgery was about quality of life because I didn't really have much".

Last year, Woods also returned from another lengthy absence at the Hero World Challenge and tied for the tournament lead with 24 birdies overall. "I didn't realize it because it's been a slow, degrading process".

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 previous year in bed". "That's so exciting and I'm just so thankful I've had this procedure and have got to this point".