Ahead of his return to golf at this week's Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods addressed reporters for the first time in ten months.
There was a lot to catch up on, from his surgery, road to recovery and also his arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) in May. Here are some of the key takeaways from the near 40-minute press conference in Albany:
“This is different”
Last year, Woods claimed to be ‘pain-free’, only for another ten-month spell on the sidelines to follow after withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February. This time, though, the 14-time major champion is adamant he’s playing without pain.
"Last year I was struggling with the pain," said Woods of last year. "I was able to hit shots and play, but looking back it was slo-mo. I didn't realise how bad my back was. Now that I'm feeling the way I'm feeling, it's hard to believe I was living the way I was living. That's why it’s different."
But he is cautious
While those that have played with Woods in the build-up to his return have been impressed with what they’ve seen – Patrick Reed and Brad Faxon in particular – the 41-year-old has admitted that he doesn’t have the same lofty expectations in coming back that he may have had in the past.
“My expectations have been tempered a little bit because I’ve been away for two years,” added Woods, who has only been back practising for a month.
“I'm winging this by ear. I don't know what my body can or can't do. I still don't know. I don't have any pain, but have some stiffness."
He didn’t consider retirement
Despite his woes over the past couple of years, Woods stopped short of saying whether he’d ever considered the big ‘r’ word.
“I’m not sure retirement is the word, but I thought I wouldn’t be able to play golf with my friends again because I’ve spent most of the last year or so in bed.”
No plans for 2018 yet
Perhaps wisely, Woods hasn’t even given a thought to what happens after this week with regards to his schedule. The American simply wants to make it through the tournament unscathed and then take it from there.
Won’t talk about schedule for next year, or even think about it. Truly wants to get through four days.— Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 28, 2017
Hasn’t watched DUI video
Woods mostly deflected questions relating to his arrest for DUI back in May, saying: “I’ve come out the other side and I feel fantastic. A lot of friends have helped me. I didn’t realise how bad my back was.
“Now that I’m feeling the way I’m feeling, it's just hard to imagine that I was living the way I was living. Foot not working, leg not working, the hours of not being able to sleep at all because of the pain."
"I was trying to go away from the pain.” Tiger about his Memorial Day mishap. Now that his back is better, he sleeps better and doesn’t have any issues. “I’m loving life now."— Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 28, 2017
He was then asked if he’d allowed himself to watch footage of his arrest. “No,” he replied, opting not to elaborate any further.
Only a ‘YouTube legend’ to his kids
While Woods has been grateful that his time away from golf has meant he’s been able to spend more time with his children, Sam and Charlie, he rues the fact they’ve not been able to see him at his brilliant best.
To them, he says, he is a ‘YouTube legend’ and asked whether he can go back to replicating his best golf, he replied: “Hmm, I don't know, I used to be pretty good you know. They only show my good shots!"
Tiger wants his kids to have a better understanding of what he does and how he’s lived life on the golf course. They don’t realize how good he was as his best.— Tiger Tracker (@GCTigerTracker) November 28, 2017