NEW YORK • Tiger Woods said changes to the golf ball must be made to avoid having 8,000-yard courses and revealed he feels no pain in his back as he prepares for his competitive comeback.
The 14-time Major winner, who has been battling back and leg injuries for years, underwent back fusion surgery in April and will return to competition at the end of this month in the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.
"We need to do something about the golf ball," the 41-year-old said. "I just think it's going too far because we're having to build golf courses - if they want to have a championship venue - they have got to be 7,400-7,800 yards.
"If the game keeps progressing the way it is with technology, I think the 8,000-yard golf course is not too far away. And that's pretty scary because we don't have enough property to start designing these type of golf courses."
He was speaking during Friday's Holding Court podcast interview with women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, who has guided US teams to two Olympic and two world titles.
Woods, who has not played in a tournament since withdrawing in Dubai in February, made a similar comeback from back surgery a year ago at the Hero World Challenge, an invitational event that benefits his charity foundation.
"I feel really good. My back is not aching, my legs are starting to come back and my overall golf fitness is starting to come around," the American said. "I've never had my back fused. It's a different feeling. I'm a little bit tighter. I don't have the pain. I don't know if I'm going to loosen up or if this is the way I'm always going to be."
The 77-minute podcast is believed to be the longest recorded interview with Woods that has been released, reported the PGA Tour. It saw him recount a story of his children meeting Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and 16-time Major champion Rafael Nadal, and how he told Charlie, eight, and Sam, 10, that the duo are legends in football and tennis respectively.
"They said, 'Yeah, but we live with one, too,'" Woods said. "I didn't think that they knew me that way... I was very shocked by that."