Tiger Woods said he felt good on Saturday after a practice round at Royal Liverpool, the site of the Open Championship, which begins on Thursday. It will be Woods' first major championship this year after missing the Masters and U.S. Open following back surgery.
"I'm not favoring anything," the 38-year-old said, according to ESPN.com's Bob Harig. "The little baby steps worked. We were very diligent about what I was doing. Going into it we pushed it pretty hard to get my abs and glutes strong so when I did come back I was able to rebound fast. I can do whatever I want. I'm at that point now. We didn't think we'd get to that point until this tournament or the week after."
The last time the Open Championship was at Royal Liverpool, in 2006, Woods won his third Claret Jug. He played 12 holes on Saturday — Nos. 1-6 and 13-18 — with fellow pro Patrick Reed.
"Before I had the procedure, I was at the point I couldn't do anything," he said of his March 31 surgery to alleviate a pinched nerve. "This is how I used to feel. I had been playing with [the back injury] for a while and I had my good weeks and bad weeks. Now they are all good."
In his only tournament since the surgery, two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans national at Congressional Country Club, Woods missed the cut after shooting rounds of 74 and 75.
"Congressional was big for me," Woods said. "The fact I could go out there and play and I got better as the days went on. It was a little bit eerie and iffy if that was going to happen or not, especially with how hard I was hitting the ball.
"But I've got my speed back, which is nice, and I'm starting to hit the ball out there again. I'm only going to get stronger. As the weeks go on, I'm getting strong and faster."
- Chris Mascaro