Tiger Woods had fans excited with anticipation on Monday after the 15-time major winner played a back-nine practice round at Southern Hills ahead of this week's US PGA Championship.
Woods, 46, made a remarkable return to professional golf in April when he took part in The Masters at Augusta National, 14 months after a serious car crash which caused major leg injuries. The American went on to make the cut before announcing he was targeting the Open Championship at St Andrews this summer, although he was noncommittal about any earlier plans.
Woods' presence in Tulsa, Oklahoma this week is therefore both unexpected and welcomed as fans lined the ropes to watch the former world No 1 take part in a practice round on Monday.
"I'm excited," Woods said on Sunday after playing the front nine. "I'm not going to play that much going forward, so anytime I do play, it's going to be fun."
Having made the cut at the Masters, Woods battled through pain simply to walk 72 holes and faded to his worst-ever Augusta rounds of 78, the 15-time major winner calling the effort to finish four rounds among his greatest feats. However, more than a month on, Woods said he is feeling much fitter and stronger.
"I've gotten a lot stronger since the Masters," he said. "We went back to work on [the] Tuesday [following Augusta National]. Monday was awful. I did nothing and Tuesday was leg day. So, we went right back after it.
"We started ramping up a week or so ago, played a little bit more golf, and it was good. Everything is better."
Woods, now ranked 818th, won the 2007 PGA at Southern Hills, although the course underwent an $11 million revamp in 2018. If his body has the strength and stamina to walk 72 holes, he could still be a major threat.
Woods is two shy of the major record set by Jack Nicklaus, while victory at Southern Hills would be his 73rd PGA Tour triumph, which would break the all-time record he now shares with Sam Snead.