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Woods has strength, needs to work on swing

TIGER Woods doesn't have a new swing coach, but he does have his strength back after an injury-plagued season.

TIGER Woods is too busy in the gym to find a new swing coach, or even swing a golf club.

Woods said on Monday his strength has returned from "busting my butt in the gym pretty hard" and he is on schedule to resume competition in December.

But he still hasn't hit a golf ball since he missed the cut at the PGA Championship on August 8, and still doesn't know when he will.

"We're pretty much past the strength phase now, and I've got my strength where I want to have it," Woods said.

"Now I just need to get my fast twitch going and get my speed back, and that's going to take a little bit of time.

"That's part of our second phase of training. And that's coming up now."

Woods had his fifth surgery in 20 years - this time on his back - and failed to win a PGA Tour event for the third time in the past five years.

Rory McIlroy referred to Woods and Phil Mickelson has being on "the last few holes" of their careers when he was asked about the two best players of their generation not being eligible for the Tour Championship for the first time since 1992.

McIlroy simply was noting their ages (Woods turns 39 in December, Mickelson is 44) and their injuries.

And when "the last few holes" became an internet sensation and McIlroy was asked if he needed to explain his remarks to Woods, he replied with a laugh, "I've said worse to his face."

Woods response?

"I thought it was funny," he said.

"Phil has less holes to play than I do, though. It's a reality, you know? We're all older. I'm nearing my 20th season on tour here coming up pretty soon. ... It's just part of the aging process."

A nagging back injury became progressively worse until Woods chose to have back surgery March 31, forcing him to miss the Masters for the first time and the US Open during a three-month recovery.

When he returned, Woods missed the cut twice, had his worst 72-hole finish in a major and withdrew from a World Golf Championship when he jarred his back hopping off a steep slope into the bunker in the final round at Firestone.

He didn't qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs for the second time, both injury related, and he took himself out of consideration as a Ryder Cup pick.

But Woods didn't regret coming back too soon - he said he didn't realise how much stamina he lacked.

He said his conditioning program is similar to when he returned from reconstructive knee surgery after winning the 2008 US Open, his last major title.

Woods fired Sean Foley two weeks after the PGA Championship.

He already has had three swing coaches - and four different swings - during his pro career.

"Am I looking for a new coach? As of right now, no, I'm not," Woods said.

"Right now I'm just trying to get physically better, stronger, faster, more explosive. ... I'm in no hurry to look for one right now."

AAP

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