Woods optimistic as 2017 dawns: 'My love for the game never left'

(Getty Images)

Tiger Woods teed up what he hopes will be a bounceback year Thursday with a wide-ranging blog post addressing his comeback in December and expressing optimism for what 2017 might hold.

"I am working hard to sharpen my game for 2017, and my goal is simple: to win. Winning takes care of itself," Woods wrote at the start of 1,500 words of musings on his recent past, present and future.

After returning to competitive play at his Hero World Challenge event in the Bahamas the first week of December, the former world number one is set to compete on the PGA Tour for the first time since 2015 when he plays the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines from January 26-29.

He'll play the Dubai Desert Classic the following week, then take a week off before the Genesis Open at Riviera and the Honda Classic at PGA National in Florida.

"The only doubt I had was the physicality of the round — the length and duration — because I hadn't been able to practice or play much golf," he wrote.

"I got sick just before Thanksgiving and lost about 10 pounds. All three of us [my children Sam and Charlie] got blitzed by a virus, and it kicked our butts. I didn't know how much energy I would have, and I ran out of gas all four days."

Woods also addressed his recent round with president-elect Donald Trump, saying he was impressed by how far the 70-year-old can hit the ball.

"He takes a pretty good lash," Woods wrote, adding: "Our discussion topics were wide-ranging; it was fun. We both enjoyed the bantering, bickering and needling. I also shared my vision for golf and what I'm trying to do."

While Woods' commitments are wide-ranging, too, from hosting tournaments to course design, his focus for the immediate future is clearly back on playing the game itself, and he sounded bullish about the path ahead.

"I know many people doubted whether I would play competitive golf again, and to be honest, even I wasn't sure," he wrote. "A year ago at Hero, I was asked the question and gave a completely different answer. But after a year of working harder than I've ever worked to get back, I knew it was possible.

"My love for the game never left. It's just that the body would not allow me to play. Now my body is allowing me to do it again. Combine that with the amount of support I have received from so many people, and the help I've had from players and friends, and there is great reason for optimism."