Pain-free Tiger Woods is now out-driving Dustin Johnson

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I was like, "Yep, I hit driver today".

"The fact that I don't have any pain in my lower back any more compared to what I was living with for years... it's just remarkable, " said Woods in an interview on Sunday with ESPN.com's Bob Harig, the first golf correspondent on site at Albany Golf Club.

Woods, who runs the Hero event through his foundation, is making his return to competitive golf after 10-month injury sabbatical. "I think more than anything, he looked at ease".

And in a practice round with Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed, Tiger was consistently outdriving Reed by at least 15 yards. "He was not concerned about swinging hard and going at it with driver", Faxon observed.

Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves. "I'm looking forward to competing again and finding the rhythm and the feel of playing tournament golf and just hitting shots", said Woods, who was joined by caddie Joe LaCava on Sunday. Just hitting shots. I haven't really had a scorecard in my hand in a while.

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Last week, Woods played a casual four-ball match at Trump National Golf Club with three of the biggest names in golf: President Donald Trump, the world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, and the eight-time PGA Tour victor and current Fox Sports analyst Brad Faxon.

Other notable pairings at the Hero include World No. 1 Dustin Johnson with U.S. Open victor Brooks Koepka, an Open Championship rematch between Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar, and Race to Dubai victor Tommy Fleetwood playing with Justin Rose.

"I've progressed over a few days, hitting driver a little hard and harder and harder until it was comfortable enough to hit it full", Woods said about the evolution of his current swing. "But he's in a great place mentally and physically". He has never been great at trying to play within himself once the gun goes off but, according to Faxon anyway, the penny may finally have dropped in that respect. "That takes time and the last thing I want to do is have any setbacks".

The Hero World Challenge, hosted by Woods in Albany, Bahamas, will include some of the best players in the world, such as Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas. It's nice to do something like that and compete and have a couple little denominations [a bet] we're playing for.

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