Tiger Woods: "I can't play the way I used to"

Woods:
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Former world number one Tiger Woods admits that he is not the same player who won 14 Major titles ahead of his latest comeback from injury at Congressional this week.

Tiger Woods has admitted that he is not the same player that ruled the golfing world for a decade as age and injuries have forced him to change his game.

The 14-time Major winner will make his return from a three-month back surgery-induced layoff at the PGA Tour Quicken Loans National Tournament this week.

While he is relieved to be "pain-free" for the first time in two years, the American has conceded that he no longer has the power advantage that he had during his largely uninterrupted run as world number one from 1999 to 2010.

With the younger breed of performers now eclipsing him for distance off the tee, Woods has accepted that he 'can't play the way he used to' and now needs to rely on other skills in order to win.

"I feel old. The Chinese kid [Guan Tianlang] who qualified for the Masters last year [aged 14] was born after I won the tournament for the first time and that is just not cool," he told a press conference. "That is what is coming - the next generation are taller, bigger and more physical - these kids in college, all the long-hitters are 6'2" to 6'4".

"The difference as I have aged is I can't play the way I used to. I have to rely on different parts of my game like strategy and course management. The amount of shots I have learned over the years has allowed me to be as consistent as I have been over the course of my career. The old adage is with age comes wisdom and I have certainly become more patient, especially having two little ones has definitely taught me a lot of patience, and it has carried on the golf course.

"I remember all the early years on tour when I would run 30 miles a week and still go play tournament golf - and I was winning but not realising how much damage I was doing. Now I have to pick my spots when I can and cannot push. When I was younger I didn't need treatment. That is no longer the case. But I'm pain-free - it's been a very long time, probably a good two years since I've felt this way."

Woods won the last of his Major titles at the 2008 US Open, but has since seen his form damaged by injuries, and his public split from ex-wife Elin Nordegren following revelations of extra-marital affairs.

Tiger Woods gestures after holing a putt at Firestone CC on August 2, 2013
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