Tiger Woods: Life is much better without pain

JERSEY CITY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 28: Tiger Woods the assistant captain of the United States team watches play n the 14th hole during the first day foursomes matches for the 2017 Presidents Cup at the Liberty National Golf Club on September 28, 2017 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) David Cannon/Getty Images

Tiger Woods: Life is much better without pain

PGA Tour

Tiger Woods: Life is much better without pain

Tiger Woods played a furiously paced round Sunday at Albany in Nassau, Bahamas, site of this week’s Hero World Challenge.

Woods completed the course with caddie Joe LaCava in 2 hours, 10 minutes, thanks in part to a golf cart. According to Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, Woods looked “relaxed and fit” on the eve of his first competitive event since February.

Woods joined Donald Trump, world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Brad Faxon in South Florida Friday.

Woods has been left upbeat with body’s pain-free response during his current comeback.“It could be the next step, I just don’t know and that’s tough to live with. It’s been a struggle for years,” he told Golf Channel. “To finally come out on the good side of it, it’s exciting. I am stiffer, I’m fused. But I don’t have the pain and if I don’t have the pain, life is so much better.”

The play over the holiday weekend was the latest step in Woods preparation for his return to active play.

“[Johnson is] the No. 1 player in the world. He’s been playing, I haven’t been playing,” Woods added. “It’s nice to compare my game to some of the other guys, like Dustin or Rickie [Fowler] or Rory [McIlroy]. It’s nice to do something like that and compete and have a couple little denominations [a bet] we’re playing for. I like seeing where I’m at.”

Woods added that the recovery process from April’s surgery, his fourth procedure on his back, has been slow, but he’s been encouraged by how his body has responded.

“I haven’t really competed in two years, really. I haven’t really done much. I’m looking forward to competing again and finding the rhythm and the feel of playing tournament golf and just hitting shots,” said Woods. “I haven’t really had a scorecard in my hand in a while and that’s going to be different.”

Woods explained that his surgeon initially cleared him to start hitting putts, which had been the most difficult thing to do before the surgery, and he gradually made his way through his bag, first hitting driver just 150 yards.

“I just chipped [driver]. I was like, ‘Yep, I hit driver today,’” Woods said. “I’ve progressed over a few days, hitting driver a little hard and harder and harder until it was comfortable enough to hit it full. That takes time and the last thing I want to do is have any setbacks.”

Faxon told Golfweek that Woods hit it by Johnson on half the holes when both players hit driver.

“I am a little surprised,” Woods said about his swing Sunday. “The fact that I don’t have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it’s just remarkable.”

 

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