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Woods and Day return to competitive golf

(Photo: Bruce Young)
The Hero World Challenge, so named because of the event's naming rights sponsor, the Indian vehicle company Hero Moto Corp, takes on a whole new meaning this week, the event seeing the return to tournament golf of not only Tiger Woods but also Australian Jason Day who gets to play his first event since the Tour Championship.

Woods has recently signed an endorsement deal with Hero.

For Woods, he plays his first event since the PGA Championship four months ago as he took time to fully recover from injury issues.

"It feels great," said Woods when asked about the state oh his health and his back issue. "It feels fantastic. I've done the proper rehab. I've gotten stronger. I've gotten more explosive. I've gotten faster.

"I just now need to hit more balls, but the body is good. I don't have the sharp pain like I used to at the beginning of the year. I don't have that anymore. I still have some aches and pains, just like anybody else who is my age and older you (laughter).

"Like I said, it's new but old. The reason why I said it that way is I just haven't done it in a long time but my body is remembering it. The motor patterns, you develop all these different motor patterns in one's career. It's familiar, so it has not taken me that long to implement it.

I just need to, as I said, I need to hit more balls and get more reps, especially under competition, I want to see where it's at. I'm very pleased with my speed and the freedom I have and what I've been doing with the golf ball."

Day has also recovered from his back injury and his return will be much anticipated by golf fans everywhere but more especially those in Australia who recognise, when fully fit, that Day could well challenge Adam Scott as Australia's best. Despite a number of injuries throughout his career Day has still put together a significant amount of titles and high finishes in big events further confirming his potential to go much further in the game. He is still only 27 and is still the world number 8.

Day has had a good season despite playing relatively sparingly. He produced top ten finishes in three of his last four starts so although perhaps his game might be a little rusty he might still do well.

Day will play with Woods in Thursday's opening round.

This week's 18 man field includes six of the world's top ten namely Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar, while recent winners internationally Jordan Spieth and Hideki Matsuyama are also teeing it up.

The event is being played at Isleworth in Orlando in Florida and carries a purse of US$3,500,000 and although there is no history of form at the venue given this is a new venue the chances might best be based on current form.

Isleworth has been used previously for a team's event between two residential communities although the nature of that event hardly provides a reference point for this week.

Stenson, Spieth, Matsuyama, Watson and Rose have all either won or finished runner-up in recent starts and Fowler is in the middle of a good vein of form also.

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