From bedridden to beaming - smiling Tiger Woods pumped for return
Tiger Woods revealed the agony of his prolonged absence from golf as he spoke ahead of his latest comeback at the Hero World Challenge, where he hopes to prove his troubles are behind him.
The 14-time major winner has endured a series of surgeries to combat his many injury problems and underwent another back operation in April.
It is nine months since the 41-year-old last played competitively, but he will tee it up alongside US PGA Championship victor Justin Thomas on Thursday as the headline act of a small but stellar field in the Bahamas.
And the American is relishing the prospect of getting back out on the course, having been in life-altering pain for much of the past two years.
"I miss playing golf for fun, going out here and having a hit and giggle. I haven't done that for two years," said Woods, who appeared relaxed and in good humour at Tuesday's pre-tournament media conference.
"I'd play nine here, 18 there and then I'd need two or three days off because my back was killing me.
"This surgery was about quality of life. I didn't really have much. I've been in bed about two years and I didn't get to do much.
"People would ask me 'why don't you go out for dinner?' – because I can't. I can't sit.
"And also I'm now able to participate in my kids' life, when they play sport. I've missed it."
Woods had previously made a return at the same event last year, when he spoke with similar optimism about his future prospects, only to end up back in the treatment room.
But he is confident the outcome will be different this time, despite conceding he had not yet gone through the full range of shots that once characterised his peerless repertoire.
He said: "This is very different. Last year I was still struggling with the pain. I was able to hit some good shots, but looking back now I was playing in slow motion.
"That was as hard as I could hit it. I didn't realise how bad my back had become and just how slow I was, because it's been a slow, degrading process.
"Now to come out here and do what I've been doing the last couple weeks ... it's been great."