Woods plays first holes since August

Tiger Woods opens Bluejack

Woods won the last of his 14 majors at the 2008 US Open

Tiger Woods played his first stretch of holes since last August at the opening of a course he helped design.

The former world number one hit a ceremonial tee shot then played a few holes with his friend Mark O’Meara at Bluejack National in Texas.

The 40-year-old had two back operations last autumn, but by registering for the US Open in June he has suggested a return may be imminent.

“We’re just trying to progress, and I’m doing that,” he said.

Woods last competed at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina last August, after which he had a small disc fragment that was pinching his nerve removed.

His world ranking has fallen to 499 and earlier this month he missed the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995.

Videos of the 14-time major champion hitting balls in practice have appeared in the past few weeks and Monday’s short round demonstrated further progress with his rehabilitation.

“This is actually the first time I’ve played holes since Wyndham. It’s been a while,” he added.

“You saw how I was going at it today, nice and smooth. That’s harder than I have been going at it the last month. Just gradually progressing.”

The Golf Channel reported that Woods could compete at the Wells Fargo Championship early next month, but the American’s team maintain there is no planned return date.

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