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Pain-free Woods is raring to go

 

By Robert Jones

Tiger Woods returns to action for the first time in nine months when he competes at the Hero World Challenge.

However, the even more surprising feat for the former World No. 1 is the lack of pain he is in after spending so long battling back problems that have limited him both on and off the course.

"The fact that I don't have any pain in my lower back anymore compared to what I was living with for years, it's just remarkable,'' Woods (right) said.

Woods' comeback this week will make it the 10th time he has returned from layoffs that were 10 weeks or longer.

His latest absence was a result of his fourth back surgery, which was in April, to remove a disk that was causing nerve pain.

"It's been a struggle for years," he added. "To finally come out on the good side of it is exciting. I am stiffer. Of course, (my lower back is) fused. But I don't have the pain. Life is so much better.''

He only started to take full swings two months ago but, according to Rickie Fowler, Woods is out-distancing him in practice rounds.

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

"I haven't really done much. I'm looking forward to competing again and trying to find the rhythm and feel of tournament golf.

"Just hitting shots. I haven't really had a scorecard in my hand in a while. That's going to be different.''

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