Pain-free Woods is raring to go

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Pain-free Woods is raring to go

Woods last played a competitive round on the first day of the Dubai Classic in early February before a severe back problem forced him to pull out.

Nassau, Bahamas - Tiger Woods says he is on the "other side" of too many years relying on pain medication to cope with his back surgeries, which led to his arrest on a DUI charge six months ago that he attributed to a bad mix of prescription drugs.

Tiger Woods is once again knocking the cover off the ball, but more important than reportedly blasting tee shots past those of world No. 1 Dustin Johnson was the amount of aching and soreness the injury-plagued 41-year-old felt ahead of his imminent return to competitive golf. "That takes time and the last thing I want to do is have any setbacks". The owner of 14 major titles who has not won on tour since 2013 withdrew prior to the second round and in April underwent his fourth back procedure since March 2014. "Now it is fantastic to come back and play with my friends, I call them kids actually".

"I was trying to sleep, which I hadn't done in a very long time because of the things I've been dealing with", he said.

"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". I am stiffer. Of course, [his lower back is] fused.

And as it relates to the new generation of golfers who mostly grew up watching him instead of competing against him, he has a wish that he knows might not be realized.

"I missed playing golf for fun", Woods said.

When asked about Woods' latest return to the course, Rose admits it is an exciting time for the game.

The World Challenge is a four-round, stroke-play event with a $3.5 million purse, a $1 million winner's prize and official world golf rankings points awarded.

"I've been in bed for about two years and haven't been able to do much".

"This is very different because previous year I was still struggling with the pain. It was a slow process and I just didn't truly understand how far I'd fallen in that regard", he continued. "I was able to hit some good shots, able to play, but in looking back on it now, I look on it as playing in slow-mo, but it was as hard as I could hit it".

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