Pain-free Tiger Woods is now out-driving Dustin Johnson


"I haven't really competed in nearly two years, really, " Woods said.

Tiger Woods will make the 10th comeback of his career after an absence of 10 weeks or more in this week's Hero World Challenge. "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".

"This year is very different because last year I was still struggling with a little bit of pain, " he said.

Woods said it was "fantastic to come back" and he was raring to get back to competition.

"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". Along with Johnson, who has held on to the top spot since February 2017 despite suffering from a back injury after a fall, the field includes year's three major winners - US Open champion Brooks Koepka, the Open Championship victor Jordan Spieth and PGA Championship victor Thomas.

"I didn't realize the slow, degrading nature of my back and how bad it had gotten to". I don't have any pain any more in my back but I do have some stiffness. Woods was priced at +1600 to win this event, but has dropped to +1200 on the golf odds board.

"I hate to be so mundane on this one", Woods said, "but, honestly, I'm just looking forward to getting through these four rounds and having an understanding, a better understanding of what I'm at".

According to Golf Channel's Rex Hoggard, Woods made his way around the Albany course on Sunday in the Bahamas in 2 hours and 10 minutes, using a cart and joined by caddie Joe LaCava, as he got in more prep work in anticipation of this week's return. "I played nine holes here and 18 holes here, and then I have to take three days off because my back was killing me".

It also is not an official PGA Tour event - although world ranking points can be earned - and it benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

"I've been in bed for about two years and haven't been able to do much. It was a slow process and I just didn't truly understand how far I'd fallen in that regard", he continued.

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".