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Tiger Woods back to full fitness again

Tiger Woods, back to full fitness after a rib injury, chases a fourth WGC-American Express Championship title at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco this week.

Adding to the world number one's high spirits is that he will tee off in Thursday's opening round with the welcome face of his regular caddie back on his bag.

"I'm feeling much better," American Woods, 29, said on his official website after a practice round. "I was able to go at it full-speed and should be 100 percent for the tournament."

The U.S. Masters and British Open champion has not played competitive golf since injuring two ribs on his left side during the Presidents Cup team competition against the Internationals two weeks ago.

He had treatment and mainly rested until playing his first practice round on Saturday.

"I played through some circumstances that I don't normally have to play (at the Presidents Cup), but the team needed me and I tried to do my best to get points," added Woods, who won the American Express Championship in 1999, 2002 and 2003.

"Since then, I've been trying to do some light lifting to get stronger and get mobility back in it. Trying to rehab it basically."

An extra boost this week for Woods is that he will be re-united with his regular caddie Steve Williams.

Williams opted out of the Presidents Cup to return to his native New Zealand for the birth of his first child, Jett Baillie.

Woods, hoping for a record 10th World Golf Championships (WGC) individual title, returns to a course he played several times as a student.

"It will be fun to see old friends," said the 10-times major winner, who played two years of college golf at Stanford University, south of San Francisco.

"But my main priority is to win the tournament. How can you not get up for tournaments as big as these?

"These are the best players in the world and you're going head-to-head against them. That's why these tournaments were started."

WGC events, with elite fields comprising the world's top 50 players, are one rung below a major.

The $7.5 million American Express Championship also includes the leading 30 players in the 2005 PGA Tour money list, the top 20 in the 2005 European Tour order of merit and leading performers from other tours around the world.

WGC events are sanctioned and organised by the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian PGA Tour, the European Tour, the Japan Golf Tour, the PGA Tour in the United States, PGA Tour of Australasia and the Southern Africa Tour.

 

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