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Born-again Tiger beginning to turn back time


Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods insisted his game was "ahead of schedule" as he prepared for his first event of 2015 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Woods was last in action at the Hero World Challenge in December when he finished joint-last in the 18-man field during a week notable for Woods being physically ill and a series of chipping errors around the greens.

That was his first appearance since missing the cut at the US PGA Championship in August as he continued to struggle with his recovery from back surgery.

But following a practice round at the tournament where he has not teed up since 2001, Woods was confident the work he was doing with swing coach Chris Como was beginning to bear fruit. "It's great to be back. it's been a long time since I've been back," he said.

"I had to take a little break there for a while (after the Hero World Challenge), that flu bug got me pretty good for another, probably, three weeks afterwards.

"I lost a lot more weight so I was finally able to start gaining weight again and then start training and then I started practising a little bit with Chris.

"We've done some really good work, it's just a continuation. We have a gameplan of where we need to get to and we're ahead of schedule at each stage of the gameplan and that's a good sign.

"Overall I'm very pleased to go out there and hit shots and I'm cranking up the speed, the speed is coming back up and it's going to be a fun year."

He added: "I'm a lot longer than I ever thought I could be again. My speed is back way up and that's fun. I'm touching numbers that I did 15 years ago and that's cool."

Woods made headlines earlier this month when he was pictured with a tooth missing while watching girlfriend Lindsey Vonn set a new record for women's alpine skiing World Cup wins in Italy.

Agent Mark Steinberg quickly stated that the tooth had been lost while Woods, who was wearing a partial skeleton mask and sunglasses at the time, had been hit by a camera and the 14-time major winner was happy to explain the situation in a jovial exchange.