Tiger Woods says he's free of pain in lower back

Ian McLaren
Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Tiger Woods says his lower back, which caused him discomfort for years and forced him to step away from competitive golf, is finally free of pain.

Woods, who's set to make his long-awaited return this week at the Hero World Challenge, says he's not only able to swing the clubs, but also undertake the tasks of daily life, without any discomfort.

"The fact that I don't have any pain in my lower back anymore compared to what I was living with for years. ... it's just remarkable," Woods said, per Bob Harig of ESPN.

The golfer underwent surgery in April to remove a disk that had been causing nerve pain. It was his fourth back procedure in recent years, and seemingly the last step on a long and painful road.

"I just didn't know (when the pain would occur),'' Woods said. "That's tough to live with. And it's been a struggle for years. To finally come out on the good side of it is exciting. I am stiffer. Of course, (his lower back is) fused. But I don't have the pain. Life is so much better."

Woods enters the Hero World Challenge as the 1,199th-ranked player in the world, but has an exemption to play in the tournament due to serving as its host.