Sports

I’ve rarely been fitter than now, says Woods

ABU DHABI, Jan 24 — Tiger Woods has declared he is the fittest he has been in around a decade ahead of his first tournament of the year.

Tiger Woods meets the press at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. — Reuters picTiger Woods meets the press at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club. — Reuters picWoods will start his 16th season in the professional ranks in Thursday’s Abu Dhabi Championship, the first time the world No. 25 and former No. 1 will tee off in the United Arab Emirates capital.

“Actually it’s been quite a few years since I’ve been physically fit,” Woods told reporters today.

“So I’m looking forward to getting out there and then playing and giving it a full season, which I haven’t done in a while, so I’m really looking forward to that.

“It’s probably been about eight, 10, 12 years ago I felt 100 per cent. I had surgery in 2002. I had surgery in 2008. A couple of other ones in there, too.

“I missed most of last year and then to finally be able to get ready for a tournament properly and to do the type of lifting that I think I need to do to be ready, I was finally able to do that.

“Hence my game came around, so it’s very exciting.”

Woods last competed when winning December’s Chevron World Challenge that ended a two-year winless drought for the 36-year old, who has had to deal with personal problems during his slide down the rankings.

The American — a winner of 14 majors — will tee up in Abu Dhabi with a formidable record in the Middle East, having previously competed in the Dubai Desert Classic on six occasions, winning in 2006 and 2008 and only finishing outside the top five once.

Woods again expressed his disappointment when asked about the decision of former coach Hank Haney to release a book entitled “The Big Miss”, chronicling his time working with Woods.

“Am I disappointed? Yes. Frustrated? Certainly, because I have to answer the questions. It’s been a while, you know, since I haven’t had to answer those questions.” — Reuters