Tiger Woods pronounced himself fit for a return to competitive golf while acknowledging the ravages of age as he prepared to tee it up for the first time in nearly four months at the Hero World Challenge tournament.
Woods’ quest to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ record haul of 18 majors has been stalled at 14 since 2008 after a string of injuries and personal problems sent him off track.
Having not played since the PGA Championship in August, the 38-year-old American returns to action on Thursday near his Florida home at the at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in a tournament benefiting his foundation.
All eyes will be on a creaky back that limited Woods to just eight events last season where he missed the cut twice and withdrew from two others.
The former-world number one underwent back surgery in March and despite long periods of rest and rehabilitation never returned to full fitness missing the Masters and US Open, withdrawing from the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
“I’m older,” Woods said drawing laughs from reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. “Father Time is undefeated.
“We all eventually are losing some of the things we are able to do when we were younger.”