Martin Dempster: Hope this isn't another false dawn for Tiger Woods

Exclusive Brad Faxon's takeaways from a round with Tiger Woods Donald Trump			Francois Nel  Getty Images

The anticipation is nearly over and Tiger Woods is set to step back into a tee box this weekend at the Hero Challenge.

The former pro said that Woods "looked great" on the course, a startling nugget about the 41-year-old who has struggled with pain issues.

His latest layoff was a result of his fourth back surgery, which was in April, to remove a disk that was causing nerve pain. "So, I witnessed first-hand what Fowler saw - A pain-free Tiger that looked like he was able to hit the golf ball and will be able to be in the mix again".

"I was impressed with how far he hit the ball", Faxon said.

Woods missed the cut at Torrey Pines two months later, flew to Dubai and managed one round - a 77 in calm conditions - before withdrawing with back spasms.

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At the 18th, Woods outdrove Hazeltine Ryder Cup winning Reed by all of 60 yards, showing no signs of any back concern by going 100 per cent in every shot and not flinching at all, even in picking-up a tee. First, Rickie Fowler suggested Tiger was hitting it by him during practice rounds and then accounts surfaced from Woods' round with President Donald Trump and Dustin Johnson last Friday that he was outpacing the world No. 1 off the tee. "The ball flight, the sound off the club, all of it was right there".

"That morning, Trump tweeted that he was going to be playing with Johnson and Woods", Faxon wrote. Rickie Fowler said the 79-time PGA Tour victor has been hitting it "way by" him at Medalist Golf Club, where they are both members, while the former world No. 1 Jason Day said Woods is "the best he's ever felt in three years".

Not only did Faxon praise the long hitting and power for Woods, but spoke highly of his short game. The filmmaker said that the one-time golfing great was in the "sunken place" after images of the Woods and Trump surfaced. "That takes time and the last thing I want to do is have any setbacks".

"To finally come out on the good side of it is exciting". I am stiffer. Of course, [his lower back is] fused.

"I haven't really competed in two years, really".

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