Ominous words from Woods

Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf later today still surprised at how well he has recovered from reconstructive knee surgery.

Tiger Woods returns to competitive golf later today still surprised at how well he has recovered from reconstructive knee surgery.

The world number one tees off at 7.02pm Irish time as defending champion in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, his first tournament since winning the US Open last June and then undergoing the season-ending surgery on his left knee.

The American superstar described the tough rehabilitation programme he went through but said last night he was happy with the end result.

“I feel great. I didn’t think it would feel this good before the surgery or even just after the surgery because I hadn’t known what it’s like to feel this way,” Woods said.

“It’s been so long. So to have it feel this healthy and this solid and secure, man, it’s a great feeling.”

Of the rehab he went through on the knee, Woods added: “Don’t go through it. It is not a lot of fun.

“The first few months are pretty tough. You’re in quite a bit of pain, and it was just a lack of strength, mobility, just a lot of different things that you take for granted. That’s all taken away from you.

“You start feeling pretty normal probably around five months, start feeling pretty good. But still, five months is a very long time. The six, seven-month mark you start feeling really good, and here I am at eight months out.”

Woods, who will play Australia’s Brendan Jones in the first round, had bad news for his rivals when he said that in addition to a more stable left leg in his swing there were other aspects of his game that have improved following surgery.

“My short game has gotten a little bit better,” Woods said. “I’ve got more shots than I did before, just because I’ve spent so much time on it, chipping and all the different shots around the greens.

“Some of the shots I had forgotten that I had over the years, I kind of remembered how to hit them again, which was kind of nice.”

Woods said the only question remaining was how well his knee would respond in a competitive environment and that his schedule leading up to the Masters in April depended on the answer.

“My schedule is so up in the air,” he said. “It’s frustrating because I have to take it week to week.

“I don’t know how the leg is going to feel next week and weeks going forward, continuing playing on this thing.

“It’s been feeling great so far, but there’s a difference of walking out there all the time and competing and playing.

“It is hard. I wish I could tell you and I wish I knew myself that I was going to play certain tournaments and full schedules and all that, but I don’t know. It is a little bit frustrating.”

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