After four back surgeries since 2014, Tiger Woods has enjoyed what many would call a highly successful comeback.But, Woods isn't most, and he will not consider his return complete until he re-enters the winner's circle for the first time since 2013.
Woods, however, is starting to feel the physical toll of a long PGA Tour season. The 42-year-old would like to add his 15th major win this week at the US PGA Championship, climbing to within three of Jack Nicklaus' record, but he's still just surprised and happy to be competing again.
"I needed that day off yesterday," Woods said on Tuesday during his pre-tournament press conference at Bellerive Country Club.
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"Yesterday, I spent a few times in the ice bath just trying to get some inflammation down and just trying to get ready for the rest of the week. And, a lot of stretching. I did a leg lift yesterday as well and was ready to go for today."
"Just the fact that I'm playing the Tour again, it's been...just for me to be able to have this opportunity again is a dream come true."
"I said this many times this year: I didn't know if I could do this again, and lo and behold, here I am. So, just coming back and being able to play at this level and compete - I've had my share of chances to win this year as well, and hopefully I'll get it done this week."
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While Woods is happy to be out on Tour again, he also admitted the physical aspect of the game still gives him some trouble compared to the mental side.
"Definitely more physical. I know how to play the game of golf. It's just what are my limitations going to be. And, as the year has progressed, I've learned some of those things," Woods said.
"I certainly can't do what I used to do 10, 15 years ago, but I'm still able to hit the majority of my shots, and I've had to learn a golf swing that is restricted."
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"I've never had a spinal restriction before, and I played all those years without it. Now, I've had a bum knee most of those years, but I could wheel it around that. But, having a fixed point in my spine is very different."
"There's going to be certain days that I'm just not going to have the speed and the flexibility and the movement that I once did. I'm 42 now, and I've had four back surgeries. So, things are going to be different from day to day, and it's just about managing it."