Woods' return is exciting - Rose

Woods hopes to be a winner in another comeback

"The fact that I don't have any pain in my lower back compared to what I was living with for years, it's just remarkable", Woods told reporters on Sunday after a speedy practice round at Albany, where he will make his first start in nearly nine months at this week's Hero World Challenge.

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. "I thought I had some speed, thought I was playing halfway decent, shot some good scores, but now I've looked back and I didn't have much at all".

He only started to take full swings two months ago but, according to Rickie Fowler, Woods is out-distancing him in practice rounds.

Last year, Woods also returned from another lengthy absence at the Hero World Challenge and tied for the tournament lead with 24 birdies overall. He went through an in-patient treatment program to deal with prescription medication, and last month pleaded guilty to a reckless driving charge that allowed him to avoid jail time.

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

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"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". The 14-time major victor is coming back following a lengthy recuperation from his latest back operation. "I would like to say that I am here to win the damn thing, like I always do". I am stiffer, I'm 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 miss playing golf with my friends.

It also is not an official PGA Tour event - although world ranking points can be earned - and it benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. I had not done that in close to two years as my back was hurting so much.

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 previous year in bed". (At first) I just chipped (the driver).

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