Tiger Woods has arrived on-site in the Bahamas for the Hero World Challenge and told reporters his 'life is so much better' following spinal fusion surgery.
The 14-time major champion underwent the procedure in April after withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February due to back spasms - and, although he admitted the recovery has been slow, he is happy with where he's at now.
“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 told Golf Channel.
“[At first] I just chipped [driver]. I was like, ‘Yep, I hit driver today'. 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.”
As for how he thinks he'll perform this week, Woods said he was unsure and that he is just excited at the possibility of teeing it up pain-free.
“It could be the next step, I just don’t know and that’s tough to live with," he added. "It’s been a struggle for years. 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.”
Woods prepared for his trip to Albany with a round of golf in the company of President Donald Trump, world No.1 Dustin Johnson and eight-time PGA Tour winner Brad Faxon on Friday, and said it was great to be able to compare himself to the world No.1.
“[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.”