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

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For example, at the Dubai Desert Classic in February, after an opening-round 77 that included no birdies and showed a golfer who was clearly in distress during the round, Woods was asked directly about being in pain.

Woods didn't elaborate on a score or whether he played a full 18 holes, but sounded pleased with his game as he discussed his preparation of late ahead of the 18-man tournament he'll compete in and host, the proceeds of which benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.

"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".

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 a year ago in bed". Woods will tee it up this week at the Hero World Challenge for the first time since the beginning of 2017, and he played a practice round in Albany, Bahamas, over the weekend to prepare for the event.

"I've come out on the other side and I feel fantastic", continued Woods.

He told reporters: "It's obviously great to have Tiger back, it's the ideal event for him to come back to". "I was just trying to hit the shot and wasn't doing a very good job". It feels different. I don't know my body yet, I don't understand fully yet what it can or cannot do.

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The next day, Woods withdrew before the second round, and he has not played a competitive round of golf since. "I never felt like that I can not play golf today, things like these I have been struggling for in the past".

In his previous lay-off from golf, Woods was out of action from August 2015 to December 2016, when he chose last year's Hero World Challenge for a comeback. The field also includes the European Tour's Race to Dubai victor Tommy Fleetwood and the red-hot Justin Rose, the 2016 Olympic gold medallist.

And then there are Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Matt Kuchar and Kevin Kisner, all winners on the PGA Tour this year.

"[Johnson is] the No. 1 player in the world".

The field for the United States dollars 3.5 million event is led by Dustin Johnson, who has held the number one spot since February 2017, and includes three of the year's major championship winners U.S. Open victor Brooks Koepka, The Open Championship victor Jordan Spieth and PGA Championship victor Justin Thomas, who also won the PGA TOUR's 2017 FedExCup title and was also adjudged the PGA TOUR Player of the Year.

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