LA JOLLA, California (Reuters) - An upbeat Tiger Woods on Sunday declared his surgically-fused back had passed its first big test with flying colours.
After finishing a very respectable equal 23rd at the Farmers Insurance Open, Woods spoke with optimism as he reflected on his official PGA Tour comeback.
He found the sticky rye grass rough with monotonous regularity at Torrey Pines South course, hitting only three fairways in each of the final three rounds, but hit some creative and brilliant recovery shots and putted well in his first official start since his spinal fusion last April.
“Overall I thought I did pretty well this week,” the American said after a closing even-par 72 in strong and gusty winds. He finished seven strokes behind the winner.
“Some of the shots I had to hit out of the rough, out of the trees, a few times I had to jack up the speed and had no issues at all (with my body),” Woods said.
“The big concern was playing out of the rough. I hadn’t played out of rye grass since last year. I hit some really good ones out of there. Unfortunately I put myself in there.”
Though not thrilled with some of his wayward drives, he pointed out that he was not the only one to have trouble finding the short grass off the tee.
“These are some of the narrowest fairways on tour and when I don’t have my best stuff — and today was windy — it compounded it. It made it very difficult for me.”
Woods expressed satisfaction with his short game but despite apparently coming through the week without aggravating his back he would not reveal his schedule leading up to the Masters in April.
The 42-year-old is due to play the Genesis Open at Riviera in Los Angeles in three weeks, while he is also expected to play two or three tournaments in Florida before heading to Augusta.
“I haven’t built out my schedule. We want to see how I was swinging after one tournament and reassess where I’m at,” he said.
“It’s nice to get this one under my belt though.”
He finished at three-under 285 on Sunday on a course where he has won eight times.
“It’s nice to see I was able to still grind,” Woods said.
“I fought my tail off and it was good stuff.
“I’m going to go back and work on a bunch of things.
“I can feel some of the things I’m doing wrong in my swing.”
Editing by Clare Fallon