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I won't be the same player I was, says Woods

ESPN staff
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Tiger Woods believes he will have to adapt his game in order to compete with younger players © Getty Images
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Tiger Woods admits he will not regain the standard of golf that saw him dominate the sport for over a decade, but says he is now "pain-free" following back surgery in April.

Earlier in June, Woods revealed he would return to action for a PGA Tour event at Congressional this Thursday, but the world No.4 has since accepted he will have to adapt his game in order to win.

"The difference as I've aged is I can't play the way I used to," Woods said. "But I'm pain-free. It's been a very long time, probably a good two years since I've felt this way.

"I feel old. The Chinese kid [Guan Tianlang] who qualified for the Masters last year was born after I won the tournament for the first time and that is just not cool.

"That is what is coming. The next generation are taller, bigger and more physical. These kids in college, all the long-hitters, are 6ft 2ins to 6ft 4ins.

"I was number two in driving distance for a number of years just behind John Daly - things have changed dramatically. I have to rely on different parts of my game like strategy and course management."

Following his injury and decision to undergo surgery, Woods' initial recovery plan targeted a return at the Open next month, which takes place at Royal Liverpool. However, he stated that, had the Quicken Loans National Tournament this week not have been partnered with the Tiger Woods Foundation, he would not have played this early.

"If this wasn't the foundation and our impact that we can have with kids, I probably would not have played," Woods said. "Our goal was the British Open."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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