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Woods Opens Up In Hour Long Podcast Interview

Don’t expect Tiger Woods to be hitting it short when he returns at the Hero World Challenge later this month.

In an expansive and fascinating hour-plus long podcast interview released overnight, the former World Number One says he’s stunned by how far he’s hitting the ball since returning from a fourth back surgery in April.

Woods spent an hour and 14 minutes on the phone with famed American basketball coach Gene Auriemma and covered everything from the modern golf ball (it goes too far) to why he doesn’t swing like he did when he dominated in 2000 (he can’t).

Woods also joined Jack Nicklaus in calling for a roll back of the ball at the professional level, saying championship courses would soon need to be 8,000 yards (7,300 metres) to test the modern Tour player.

"We need to do something about the golf ball," he told Auriemma, one of basketball’s most revered coaches.

 "I just think it is going too far. With the game progressing as it is, I think the 8,000-yard golf course is not too far away.

"That’s pretty scary. We don’t have enough property to start designing these types of golf courses, and it just makes it so much more complicated.”

One of the longest hitters in the game early in his career, Woods said he averaged less than 300 yards off the tee in 1997, the year John Daly became the first player to average over that mark. In 2017, 43 players averaged 300 yards or more.

Still, the 14-time major winner know he needs to be long to compete in the modern era and suggested he didn’t have any concerns on that front playing pain-free for the first time in years.

"I can't believe how far I'm hitting the golf ball," he told Auriemma.

"I'm back to hitting it my full numbers, and not really trying to do that. I didn't realise how much I had dropped off because of the pain in my back... just because I had lived this from day to day to day and couldn't tell the difference.

“But now I can tell the difference, and my posture is so much better over the golf ball.”

Woods touched on any number of topics during the lengthy conversation including taking aim at those suggesting he should return to the swing which brought him so much success in the year 2000.

"So people ask me, why don't you go back to your 2000 swing?" Woods said on the podcast. "I can't. My knee is trashed from all those years of playing that way. I've had four operations on my knee.

“Forget when my back was bad — pre-surgery and pre-back problems, people were saying the same thing: 'Why don't you go back to 2000?'

“I can't, my knee's trashed from playing that way, I can't do that any more. I have to look for a different way."

Woods seems relaxed and engaged during the hour-long conversation which covers everything from his dominance of the game to his love of fly fishing.

The full podcast episode can be found here.

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