Woods has 'tempered expectations' ahead of PGA Tour return

Tiger Woods says he has "not felt this good in years" but concedes his expectations have been tempered as he prepares to make his latest comeback to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines this weekend.

The 14-time major champion has endured well-documented back injuries in recent years, and underwent a fourth surgery on the issue in 2017.

Last month, Woods played the Hero World Challenge, an unofficial PGA Tour event, where he placed ninth and showed encouraging signs that he can finally put his fitness woes behind him.

Woods will tee it up at the Farmers Insurance Open this week, and is playing at a course where he has been a winner on eight occasions.

However, the 42-year-old is not making bold predictions about his chances.

"It's been a full year since I've played on Tour, so I'm really looking forward to it," Woods, who carded a two under par at a pro-am event on Wednesday, told a news conference. 

"I just want [my back] to feel not as a bad as it has for such a long time. I want to have a lifestyle where I can be around my kids and do things. I haven't felt this good in years, so I'm excited about it.

"My expectations have tempered a little bit because I haven't played. 

"I haven't played a full schedule since 2015, it's been a long time. I just want to play on Tour and get into the rhythm of a full schedule again. I'm going to grind it, give it everything I have.

"I don't know what the number is going to be. I'm usually good at predicting [winning scores]. I haven't seen a lot of these guys play. I met [defending champion] Jon [Rahm] this week for the first time."

Woods enjoyed a memorable moment at Torrey Pines in 2008 when he defeated Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff at the U.S. Open, somehow defying a double stress fracture of his left tibia and significant knee damage to claim victory.

"[I remember] how much it hurt, ACL and a broken leg, I remember starting every hole with a double-bogey or a bogey," he added. 

"I remember I made everything that week. I hit it okay, but if it wasn't for my putting I wouldn't [have won]."

And Woods still has one tournament marked above all else.

"I'm just trying to build towards April. I'm trying to play a full schedule and build for the Masters," he said.

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