World No. 1 golfer Tiger Woods of the United States returns to action on Wednesday for the first time since last June's victory at the U.S. Open. Woods will tee off at the World Golf Championship Match Play event near Tucson, Arizona.
Woods underwent knee surgery after his dramatic playoff victory at the U.S. Open during which he struggled hitting his shots and walking the course. He has been sidelined since then and is anxious to return to competition.
He played a practice round for the tournament on Tuesday and held a news conference afterwards. "[It] feels great to be back out and get back out in a competitive environment again. And it feels really good," he said.
Woods said both of his legs "are a lot stronger than they have ever been." He said that during his time off the golf course, he enjoyed spending time with his family, especially his new son Charlie, who was born earlier this month. Woods was asked why he decided to return to competition this week. "My practice sessions have been going really well, so I felt good there. It was just a matter of [ my wife] Elin and [my son] Charlie feeling good. And as long as they're healthy and secure at home, then I was ready to come back and play," he said.
Even though he has been off the tour for so long, Woods had accumulated enough points to maintain his top ranking. That means he is the top seed at this week's tournament. So he will first play the 64th and lowest seeded golfer, Brendan Jones of Australia
Woods knows that in a match-play format, which is head-to-head and single elimination, he has to be on his game right away. Nearly all other PGA events use stroke play over four rounds in four days.
Opponent Jones has spent most of his golfing career playing in Japan.
Still, Woods said he knows he will be nervous, but that it is great to feel that rush of adrenaline. He added that the day he is not nervous is the day he will quit the sport.