Hoylake (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Tiger Woods was out practicing on Saturday at Royal Liverpool, the venue for next week's 143rd British Open and the course where he won the 2006 title.
Woods set out mid-morning in the company of fellow American Patrick Reed who captured this year's WGC-Cadillac Championship in March.
It is the first time Woods has set foot on the course since he captured his third Claret Jug in 2006 and when golf's oldest Major was last staged at the north-western English venue.
And in contrast to eight years ago the Royal Liverpool course is a lot greener and not as hard as it was eight years ago when Woods hardly used his driver over the four days in winning by two shots and just weeks after the passing of his father and mentor, Earl.
Woods appearance in this week's British Open will be his first in a Major this season after undergoing back surgery in March.
Since then the 14-time Major winner has contested just one event and that was missing the halfway cut in last month's PGA Tour's Quicken Loans National at the Congressional Club in Maryland.
After his practice round on Saturday, the 38-year-old Woods said his slow-paced return to action is paying off.
"The little baby steps worked," Woods said. "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.
"Before I had the procedure, I was at the point I couldn't do anything. 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."
Woods said the Hoylake course was still playing fast.
"It's a lot more green, lush, but it's still playing fast," said Woods who added that despite missing the cut on his comeback in Maryland, he still learnt a great deal from the experience.
"Congressional was big for me, the fact I could go out there and play and I got better as the days went on.
"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."
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- Tiger Woods
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