Tiger Woods says lack of back pain 'just remarkable' ahead of return

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Tiger Woods says he is playing pain-free as he prepares to make a comeback from nine months out with back issues at the Hero World Challenge this week.

Woods' return this week will make it the 10th time he has returned from layoffs that were 10 weeks or longer.

His latest layoff was a result of his fourth back surgery, which was in April, to remove a disk that was causing nerve pain.  

"The fact that I don't have any pain in my lower back anymore compared to what I was living with for years... it's just remarkable,'' Woods is quoted by ESPN. 

"It's been a struggle for years. To finally come out on the good side of it is exciting. I am stiffer. Of course, [his lower back is] fused. But I don't have the pain. Life is so much better.'' 

Woods only started to take full swings two months ago, but according to Rickie Fowler, Woods is out-distancing him in practice rounds. 

"I haven't really competed in almost two years, really,'' Woods said. "I haven't really done much.

"I'm looking forward to competing again and trying to find the rhythm and feel of tournament golf. Just hitting shots. I haven't really had a scorecard in my hand in a while. That's going to be different."