Tiger Woods will test out a new set of golf clubs as well as his ailing back as he targets a return to competitive golf in December.
“I still need to do a little more testing,” Woods said during an interview with Bloomberg Television yesterday at New Jersey’s Liberty National Golf Club. “I was close to putting them in play earlier this year but my back went out.”
Woods is taking a four-month hiatus to rehabilitate a back injury that forced him to withdraw from consideration for next month’s Ryder Cup matches. The 38-year-old said he plans to return to play in December at the World Challenge tournament in Orlando, Florida, an event benefiting his charity foundation.
After rehabilitating his injury, Woods said he will be able to spend more time practicing with a new set of Vapor irons from Nike Inc. (NKE:US), his main equipment sponsor.
“When I came back, I was so limited in what I could do, I didn’t want to test anything, so I still played with my old stuff,” he said. “This time around I’ll have a little more time to test. We’re really close.”
Before returning, Woods will continue to seek treatment on his back. The injury hindered his performance at the PGA Championship this month in Louisville, Kentucky, where he failed to make the cut for weekend play in a Grand Slam event for the fourth time as a professional.
“It’s a little bit stiff,” Woods said yesterday. “Sitting and standing all day makes it stiff. I’ve got to go through the rehab process again. Luckily I didn’t do any damage to it.”
Woods has said the back injury suffered a week before the PGA Championship wasn’t related to surgery he had this season. The 14-time major tournament winner missed the year’s first two majors, the Masters Tournament and the U.S. Open, while recovering from surgery. Woods’s last win in a major event came at the 2008 U.S. Open, leaving him four shy of Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 titles.
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