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Tiger: “I’m Going to Try to Win This Thing”

Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports/Reuters. Picture Supplied by Action Images.

A year after sounding almost fatalistic about his chances of resuming his golf career, Tiger Woods feels good enough to imagine playing a full schedule for the next decade if his back will allow it.

The first step is teeing it up Thursday in the Hero World Challenge, Woods’ first competitive golf since he tied for 10th in the Wyndham Championship more than 15 months ago.

This is a big moment for Woods, who briefly committed to play in the Safeway Open in October, only to back away on the Monday of tournament week. He has been through two back procedures since his last start and watched the game go on without him while he focused on reorganizing his business interests in his down time.

Now it’s time to play again with the golf world watching.

“I’m going to do the same things I always do. I’m going to try to win this thing,” Woods said in a press conference Tuesday. “I’m going to give it my best. I’ll try to do what I can do – put the ball in the correct spots, give myself some looks, post some scores and get in the mix on Sunday.

“I know that’s a tall order. I’ve made a lot of changes in my game but the mindset is still the same.”

When Woods met with the media a year ago in the Bahamas, he was early in the recovery period from his back procedures. He said he needed help getting out of bed at times and wondered if he would play competitively again.

“Not being able to get out of bed, how can I expect to come out a swing a golf club at 120 miles per hour? There was a lot of trepidation.”

Woods said he backed away from the Safeway Open because his preparation was stalled by his role as an assistant Ryder Cup captain. He liked the progress he was making but felt he needed more time to be fully ready.

“I knew I could play Safeway with a few shots. I’ve played with less and won with less,” he said. “As hard as it was to take it off, it was the smart thing to do. But as a competitor, it killed me.”

Woods said his biggest concern with his game at the moment is dialing in his distances once the competitive juices start flowing. He’s had to work himself back into golf shape. Miles on his bike and hours on a treadmill are different than walking 18 holes and it has taken him some time to physically get where he feels he is now.

In bringing his various business interests under one umbrella company known as TGR, Woods said he has set up what he calls “phase two” of his life. But he intends to play competitive golf for years to come.

“I want to do this as long as I can,” Woods said. “Would I like to play a full schedule every year for the next decade plus? Yeah, that would be great. Can I? I don’t know.”


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