Tiger Woods: 'As always, I will play to win'

"I am nervous but I am looking forward to it. It shows I care. I want to channel the energy, get a feel for the whole thing and get a flow of the round. As always, I will play to win," said Tiger Woods.

Tiger Woods sits on a Hero MotoCorp bike alongside its Chairman Pawan Munjal.   -  Special arrangement

TIGER WOODS

Tiger Woods speaks at a press conference for the Hero World Challenge golf tournament in Bahamas.   -  AP

The supreme predator is back!

Tiger Woods, looking fitter and leaner and primed to make his competitive return after a 15-month rehabilitation following back surgeries, was all enthusiasm as he and Pawan Munjal, CMD of Hero MotoCorp, interacted with the Indian media contingent ahead of the Hero World Challenge set to tee off here on December 1.

"I am nervous but I am looking forward to it. It shows I care. I want to channel the energy, get a feel for the whole thing and get a flow of the round. As always, I will play to win," was Tiger's matter-of-fact reply when asked the mandatory question on his comeback and approach ahead.

"The rehab break has been a blessing and a curse. I got to spend time with the kids, play soccer with them and take them around golf courses to show what daddy does for a living! I also had time to get my business commitments under one roof and do some quality work towards the new TGR brand.

"On the other hand, the layoff has tested my patience as I have been playing for 36 years and then suddenly gone off. I have missed the camaraderie, the jabbing and sheer competition with the players on the tour. I want to be a player again!

"As regards getting competition-fit, I have been practising over 9-12-15-18 holes and grinding it out. And been adapting to the evolution of the game in the last 15 months. I am putting more emphasis on time-management skills, adjusting playing schedule and all such things”

Queried about the scenario in the game now, the 14-time Major champion said: "The game has changed a lot. The present lot's landing distance is more than what I used to drive to! Stuff like adjustable heads is new to me! I am in the 40s now and would be never able to do what I used to before. But I hope to be as competitive as always."

"It was very different. I have new respect for administrative work, managing people, caddies etc. It was complicated but good to do," said Woods when asked to comment on his experience as a non-playing Ryder Cup vice-captain.

Speaking about Hero’s involvement with the sport and having Tiger as an ambassador, Munjal congratulated the American for his fortitude to start all over again and hoped he would be back to his vintage best.

He said his firm’s association with the sport would continue saying "the game was no longer elitist and it was heartening to see more and more kids taking it up in India". Munjal stressed on the need for more corporates to come into active play and hoped for more government support and infrastructure.