Woods told ESPN’s Bob Harig: “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.”
The 14-time major champion reportedly played a brisk 18-hole practice round using a cart that took just over two hours.
Regarding his Hero return, Woods said.
“It could be the next step, I just didn’t know [when the pain would occur]. That’s tough to live with. And it’s been a struggle for years. To finally come out on the good side of it is exciting. I am stiffer. Of course, [his lower back is] fused. But I don’t have the pain. Life is so much better.”
He added he’s shocked just how good his back feels.
“I am a little surprised…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.”
Woods added he enjoyed measuring his game against world No. 1 Dustin Johnson during his Friday round at Trump National. He did not add, however, that he was disappointed with the comparison; which is certainly a good sign.
Ultimately, though, John Wood, Matt Kuchar’s caddie, talking as part of Golf.com’s Tour Confidential panel, offered the take we surely all second about Woods’ return.
“The three things I would love to see is a pain-free golf swing, a lot of drivers off the tee and, like Michael said, joy. I hope he looks like a junior golfer out there sometimes, with a smile and having fun. I think that’ll be a good starting point.”
Indeed. Woods will make his return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Thursday. Tee times for the 18-player tournament are yet to be announced.