Tiger Woods: The body is good

WINDERMERE, Fla. -- Tiger Woods went back to his very successful past to try to forge a path to the future.

Having plenty of time to study and assess due to another lengthy injury hiatus, Woods used the months when he didn't hit a shot to assess how best to hit them when he returns, with his first competition coming this week at the Hero World Challenge at Isleworth.

As part of the analysis, Woods has brought on "consultant'' Chris Como to help with the process of reworking his swing after a frustrating year of injuries saw him play just eight tournaments worldwide.

Saying the swing is "new, but it's old,'' Woods said he reviewed video going back to his junior golf days that preceded a 79-victory career on the PGA Tour that includes 14 major championships.

"It was quite interesting to see where my swing was then and how much force I could generate with a very skinny frame,'' Woods said Tuesday during a pre-tournament news conference. "How did I do that? How do I generate that much power? That's kind of what we are getting back into.''

Woods, who turns 39 on Dec. 30, appears leaner than he looked on Aug. 8, the day he limped off the course in Louisville having missed the cut at the PGA Championship.

Shortly after, Woods announced he would be shutting it down until this tournament, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. He didn't hit any full shots until October and announced on Nov. 22 that Como, an instructor based near Dallas, would be working with him as a consultant.

Woods said Como's role will come with a different arrangement than he had with previous teachers Sean Foley, Hank Haney and Butch Harmon.

"I had this plan in my head of where I wanted to go and what I want my swing to look like and what I want to get out of my body and out of my game,'' Woods said. "I just needed to align myself with a person that felt the same way. Chris fits that for sure.''

Woods said he parted ways with Foley in August on good terms because "physically I just wasn't able to do some of the things that we needed to do in the golf swing. ... On a professional level, I think I needed to go a different direction.''

That direction is with an instructor who is relatively unknown, although he has worked with the likes of PGA Tour players Aaron Baddeley, Trevor Immelman and Jamie Lovemark. He also has a background in biomechanics, which suggests Woods wants to be attuned to working around the injuries that have caused him to miss six major championships dating to 2008.

Woods had microdiscetomy surgery March 31 for a disk issue in his back and then returned at the Quicken Loans National in June -- a return that Woods conceded might have been too soon.

In just his third event back, at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Woods suffered another setback, although he said it was a different back injury. He withdrew during the final round, then tried to play in the PGA, where he missed the cut for just the fourth time as a pro in a major championship.

"I just need to hit more balls, but the body is good,'' Woods said. "I don't have the sharp pain like I had at the beginning of the year. But I'm past the rehab portion of it, and I don't have to do those tedious little rehab exercises. I can basically play with my kids and do whatever I want.''

A year ago, Woods was ranked No. 1 in the world when the World Challenge was played at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. He lost in a playoff to Zach Johnson but was never the same in to 2014, a year that saw him finish no better than 25th. He has dropped to 24th in the world.

The 18-player World Championship field has no player worse than 39th in the world and 15 of the top 20. Woods is paired with Jason Day on Thursday and tees off at 12:15 p.m. ET not quite sure what to expect.

"I'm curious to find out myself,'' he said. "It's going to be nice playing a tournament this week and getting a feel for being under the heat and see where my swing is, see what shots -- where my misses are, not necessarily my good ones.

"I know my good ones are good. But where are the misses going to be? Am I able to rectify them right away, or is it going to take a shot or two, or a hole or two? Or maybe I might not be able to do it at all and that might not be a good thing. But I think I have a good understanding going into Thursday what I need to do to hit certain shots and see what happens.''

Isleworth was Woods' longtime home course before moving to Jupiter, Florida, in 2011. But it is just a one-year deal, as Woods announced that the World Challenge would move to the Bahamas and Albany Golf Club for the next three years.