Right, here we go. Back in 1994, Tiger Woods had a couple of benign tumours and some scar tissue removed from his left knee. A few years later he had another cyst removed.

Then came some surgery on cartilage damage to his left knee before he was told he had two stress fractures in his left tibia. His anterior cruciate ligament was then patched up using a tendon from his thigh before he had a procedure on a pinched nerve in his back.

Are you keeping up? Good. Now, where were we? In 2015, he had two microdiscectomy surgeries on that dodgy dorsal and followed it up a couple of years later with a spinal fusion.

Then came a couple more surgeries on his back, one on his knee and yet more pokes and prods on that back. A car crash in 2021 led to a shattered leg, emergency surgery and rods and pins inserted into his foot and ankle before he topped it off with another operation on his bothersome ankle earlier this year. You can breathe out now.

Taking all this into consideration, his statement of quiet optimism yesterday about his own potential playing schedule next season raised more eyebrows than a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon.

“The best scenario would be a tournament a month, like the Genesis (in February), then something in March, maybe the Players’ Championship,” Woods said in something of a departure from the cautious predictions he has made about his diary in recent years.

“The biggest events (major championships) are one per month. It sets itself up for that. Now, I need to get myself ready for that and this week is a big step in that direction.”

This week, of course, marks another tentative return to competitive action for the 15-time major champion as he competes in the Hero World Challenge, his first outing since an appearance in April’s Masters which came to a premature and painful end.

While Woods has been away, all sorts of shenanigans have been happening in the men’s professional scene. The bombshell announcement in June that the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which bankrolls the LIV Golf rebellion, would start devising a plan to work together caused such a shock, poor old Tiger just about required another surgery.

“We were very frustrated with what happened, we were all taken aback by it,” said Woods of the clandestine manner of the negotiations. “It was just thrown out there. It happened so quickly without any of our (the players) involvement. No one knew.”

That Woods has now joined the PGA Tour’s policy board as a player director means there will be no more secretive, nod-and-a-wink dealings.

Jay Monahan, the embattled PGA Tour commissioner, has been warned. “He understands what happened prior to that [announcement] can’t happen again and won’t happen again,” added Woods. “We were very frustrated with what happened and we took steps to ensure that we were not going to be left out of the process like we were. So, part of that process was putting me on the board.”

Whether this tripartite agreement involving the two tours and the PIF gets finalised by the December 31 deadline remains to be seen. Many think it’s highly unlikely while there is talk of US-based private equity firms possibly usurping the Saudi involvement in the proposed working alliance.

“We have multiple options,” admitted Woods. “But still, we would like to have a deal done by December 31. That’s what the agreement said in the summer and all parties understand that. But there are other options out there.”

By his own admission, Woods, 47, is as rusty as the wheel arches on an old British Leyland – not quite his words -  but he’s back, he’s pain free and he’s keen to get cracking.

“I’m just as curious as all of you are to see what happens because I haven’t done it in a while,” Woods said of his eagerly anticipated return.

In these changing golfing times, one thing remains the same. Woods’ unwavering competitive spirit. “Absolutely,” he replied with a glint in his eye when asked if he believed he can still win again.

“I love to compete,” he added. “There will come a point in time, I haven't come around to it fully yet, when I won't be able to win again. When that day comes, I'll walk away.”

Woods is not ready for that day just yet, though.