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PGA Championship: Tiger Woods ready to contend again after ‘climbing Everest’ in Masters comeback

Woods, who won the Wanamaker Trophy in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2007, has been grouped with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth for the first two rounds in Oklahoma.

Woods marked his first appearance in nearly 17 months with a 47th finish at the opening men’s major of the year, his first top-level event since sustaining career-threatening leg injuries in last February’s car crash.

The former world No 1 admitted the aftermath of his competitive comeback “was not fun”, although took just one day off before resuming training to prepare for his appearance at Southern Hills.

Woods, who won the most recent of his four PGA Championship titles when the Tulsa venue hosted the event in 2007, believes he will find it easier to play courses which are not as undulating as Augusta National.

“There was a huge lull, Monday [smiling] that was it,” Woods said about his post-Masters rehabilitation. “That was it. Monday, it was not fun. It hurt. Ice baths and just trying to get the swelling out of there. Then we went back at it, leg day on Tuesday and we kept going from there.

“Figured the first mountain you climbed was Everest. That’s the steepest golf course you’re going to play and that was the first one you climbed. It’s going to get flatter and better. But still, I still have tough days, and things aren’t going to be as easy as people might think.

“I feel like I’m doing better. I’m having more days which are better, more positive. Able to practice a little bit longer. I’m able to do activities and things that I was hoping to do, and I’m finally able to do them.”

Woods has been grouped alongside four-time major champion Rory McIlroy and three-time major champion Jordan Spieth, who can complete the career Grand Slam with a victory this week, with the 46-year-old pleased with the physical progress he has made.

“There’s a lot of hardware in there and there’s going to be limitations to what I’m going to be able to do, but I’m going to get stronger,” Woods added. “I don’t know how much that is or how much range of motion I’ll ever get back, but sure is a hell of a lot better than it was 12 months ago.

“I didn’t have the endurance [at The Masters] that I wanted. I shouldn’t expect it because I didn’t earn it. I didn’t go out there and I hadn’t done the work, but we were able to put in a little bit more work and it’s going to get better as time goes on. As the months pass, it’s going to get better.”

When asked about the possibility of contending, Woods added: “I feel like I can, definitely. I just have to go out there and do it. I have to do my work. Starts on Thursday and I’ll be ready.”

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