'Nervous' Woods ready for his Bahamas return
Tiger Woods has raised hopes that this week's comeback event after 16 months on the sidelines will prove to be rather more than merely a fitness check.
The former world No 1, now ranked 898th, has claimed that he is glad that he sat out his scheduled return six weeks ago because "I can hit all the shots now - on call".
Woods had intended to play at the Safeway Classic on the PGA Tour, then the Turkish Open on the European Tour. However, he pulled out at the 11th hour, fearing his game was not ready after his exhaustive recovery from multiple back surgeries. But there seems no prospect of a late withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge, the 18-man tournament which begins in the Bahamas on Thursday.
"I'm ready to go. I have way more shots now, because I've played way more golf. I only had a handful of shots back then," Woods told USA Today.
"It was a smart decision in the end to pull out. The competitor inside me wanted to go so badly. I had played feeling worse and won tournaments. But I finally decided 'why rush?' I've just had a session where I hit everything. And I had control of everything."
Woods was the first man at the Albany course. He admitted to feeling nerves, but not because he is scared of embarrassing himself in a high-quality field also boasting Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth - but, against all odds, because he anticipates being in the mix.
"Yes, I'm nervous," Woods said. "I'm nervous for every tournament I play in. I care. If I care, I'm nervous. I want to be out here so bad. There is that part of me that is the competitor who wants to beat these guys. I want to compete."
If only that was the extent of Woods' duties this week. As the promoter, whose charitable foundation benefits from the event, he will be required to fulfil so many more obligations. Also surely working against him is the fact that he is trying out a new brand of woods, as well as a new type of golf ball. (© Daily Telegraph, London)