Tiger Woods last won a major in 2008, when he claimed the U.S. Open title at Torrey Pines. In the near-decade that’s followed, golf is still looking for someone to replace his star power.

Rory McIlroy looked like the next big thing, and while he’s been successful, McIlroy hasn’t dominated like Woods did.

Then Jordan Spieth came along, taking the golfing world by storm… for a least a little bit.

But it never felt the same. It never was like it was Tiger. There was never his mystique or grace, his dominance and an array of magical moments that captured the sports world.

Perhaps there’s no replacing him; no chance to see an athlete dominate his sport like Woods did to golf. But even at the age of 42, Woods is still making strides forward, and finally, it appears that he’s headed in the right direction again when it comes to both his mindset and his health.

In an interview with Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson of Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7, ESPN’s Bob Harig discusses the pain that Woods used to deal with, and how the spinal fusion operation he underwent last April may have been the cure to what was ailing Woods.

“He’s maintained the same stance, and that he’s not in pain anymore. What we can take from that, is that over the last few years –in these other comebacks — he was in more pain then he let on,” Harig said, who spoke about how Woods lived a life wondering if every swing, could be the one that finally ruined his back. “He was never quite sure if his back was going to give out. Now that he’s had this spinal fusion — a serious surgery — it’s given him a lot of comfort. You’re able to see him go after it; he swings hard, he swings aggressively.”

But while the buzz begins to return for Woods, certainly the expectations will begin to ramp up as well, something Harig says that Woods is being more cautious with this time around.

“We’re seeing him be a little bit more cautious with his expectations; he’s talking about needing some time to work his way back. He’s not talking about winning right out of the gate. He’s acknowledging that he’s got some catching up to do. He’s only played two tournaments in the last year. He needs more at-bats, to be able to compete with these guys, many of whom who are 10-15 years younger than him.”

Sorry – this audio content is no longer available., including what he had to say about how Woods looked at Torrey Pines and more, or listen to the podcast below.

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