Tiger hits ball in water during press day for new course, says back is ‘progressing’

Tiger Woods was at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Mo., on Tuesday to announce his plans to design his first public-access course, but he offered little on his return to competitive golf.

Woods did a short question-and-answer session with Tom Lehman and then answered a few questions from the assembled media, as well as from the great nephew of property owner Johnny Morris, a youngster named Hudson. Woods also faced Hudson in a friendly closest-to-the-pin contest, hitting two shots from about 100 yards to a green over a valley and water. Woods's first shot landed in the drink. (It was reminiscent of a media gathering at the Quicken Loans last year, when Woods hit three short shots into the water on a par 3.)

“The back is progressing,” Wood said, when asked about his health. “[The] first shot was crap; I hit it in the water. The second shot I stiffed it. What Mark [O’Meara] was saying at Augusta, I have good days and bad days. I have had three back operations, and that's kind of the nature of the business, unfortunately. That's all I can say.”

Woods didn't say when he expects to be back. He last played in the Dubai Desert Classic in early February, but withdrew before his second round.

Woods, however, did make a joke about playing on the PGA Tour Champions circuit when he is eligible in nine years, something he's never hinted at doing before.

“Nine more years — nine — that's all I got, before I'm going to beat you on the senior tour!” he said pointing at Lehman.

Told later that he's never been one to talk much about playing on the Champions tour, Woods said, “It's right around the corner now.”

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