NASSAU, Bahamas -- If there was any trepidation about hitting full, powerful shots or spending too much time doing so, Tiger Woods wasnt letting on Sunday afternoon as the wind whipped across the driving range at Albany Golf Club -- where he was the only player practicing.With his return to competitive golf after a 15-month absence looming this week at the Hero World Challenge, Woods was busy testing equipment -- and looking pretty good doing so.Im not dead, he quipped. Woods, 40, arrived in the Bahamas on Saturday and played nine holes, then spent some two-and-half hours Sunday on the driving range and in a testing center using a device called TrackMan to gauge various distances and launch angles -- a process he said is more daunting now that his longtime sponsor, Nike, is no longer making golf clubs, and Woods has an array of choices.So many manufacturers sent Woods clubs to try that my head was spinning. For now, he is sticking with his Nike irons and experimenting with various woods -- it was a TaylorMade driver, 3-wood and 5-wood and Sunday -- and he dropped a bit of news when he said hes using a Bridgestone golf ball this week.?The most important thing is the ball, he said. Once you find a ball, then you can work around everything else. The ball is No. 1. The most important club in the bag is the ball.Woods had no trouble carrying drives over 300 yards, shaping shots in both directions with his various clubs while showing no pangs of discomfort. Of course, its Sunday, not the opening round on Thursday of an otherwise low-key, 18-player tournament that benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. Its a year-ending cash grab for many stars of the game, and how they fare here is of little consequence. There are world ranking points at stake, and a $3.5 million purse with $1 million going to the winner.But for Woods -- who in his absence has slipped to 879th in the world -- this is a big deal. The 14-time major champion has not competed since August 2015 at the Wyndham Championship, where he tied for 10th. Earlier he had missed cuts in three consecutive major championships. And he would later undergo two back procedures that forced him to the sideline, causing all kind of speculation about his future in the game.According to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Woods has the worst odds to win the tournament, at 40-1, of anyone in the 18-person field.Woods admitted he will be nervous.But Im nervous for every tournament I play in, whether its after a layoff, or six in a row, or a major, he said. I care. If I care, Im nervous. And its good to be that way. To have that nervous energy and channel it into aggression, into focus, concentration, thats good stuff. If I wasnt nervous, that would mean I didnt care. I dont want to be out there flat.Woods said he understands the thinking that he shouldnt care, that just being back after an extended absence is enough.I get that, and that part is great too, he said. Im out here playing and competing. That part is really neat. Then there is that part of me that is the competitor who wants to beat these guys. I want to compete.Some seven weeks ago, Woods announced he was not ready to do that. He at first committed to the Safeway Open in California, then three days before the tournament decided to pull out because he described his game as vulnerable and not ready to compete against the best in the world. That set off a new wave of doubts about his game and his future, and while Woods said he badly wanted to play that week, it was a good decision in the end. The competitor inside me wanted to go so badly and was itching to go. I had been playing at home. I thought only if I have a few shots, its good enough to get it around. I had played feeling worse. But whats the point in rushing back when Ive waited over a year to begin with?Ive waited this long, its not going to hurt to wait just this much longer.Woods caddie, Joe LaCava, who was walking the Albany course on Sunday, twice went to Florida to work with Woods since the Safeway withdrawal, mostly to get Woods in tournament mode and off a golf cart. His instructor, Chris Como, has also been there. Two weeks ago, Woods and LaCava played rounds on four consecutive days, walking -- which seems simple enough until Woods explains he had not been doing that enough.Its weird to say, but I have to get my walking legs, he said. Its a 5-mile walk. You forget what it feels like to be in golf shoes versus tennis shoes. To be on an uneven lie versus a flat lie. I can walk for two or three hours on a treadmill and its not the same as walking on a golf course. Its so different, the standing around (between shots).The rhythm of playing in a golf cart versus walking and playing. I had forgotten that because I had been away for over a year. Joey really helped me ... normal tournament talk, I had to get used to that again.This is a big week for Woods every year. The event began in 1999 at the urging of his late father, Earl, and is a big fundraiser for his foundation. There are numerous sponsor obligations -- Hero has one more year on its deal after the 2016 event -- as well as all the attention his game is going to receive.Im ready to go, he said.Discount Air Jordan Cyber Monday . -- Jimmie Johnson held off a teammate, passed a pair of Hall of Famers, and dominated once more at Dover. Air Jordan Outlet . "Trying to breathe," he said with a grin. Bernier stopped 42 of 43 shots on Monday night, including all 22 in a hectic middle frame, his heroic performance propelling the Leafs toward an undue point in their final game before the Christmas break. http://www.cheapairjordanwholesale.com/ .Y. - Free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off winning the World Series with Boston, reached agreement with the rival New York Yankees on a seven-year contract worth about $153 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday night. Cheap Jordans Sale . "Were just throwing s--- at the wall hoping something sticks," said Tortorella about the possible line combinations for Fridays game against Columbus. The Canucks have lost five straight games and six of their last seven, leaving them in a logjam in the Pacific Division, currently sitting fifth - good for ninth in the Western Conference. Clearance Air Jordan Black Friday . 9. Price, heading to the 2014 Olympics for Canada, was named the First Star after posting wins in three starts with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .971 save percentage.Kane Williamson and Tim Southee will both play their 50th Test for New Zealand, against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo. Both men have done their bits, with bat and ball, respectively, to build New Zealand into a competitive Test outfit that has steadily climbed the rankings. Their mini-milestone makes them part of an elite club. Only 18 other New Zealand players have racked up 50 caps, and of those, just three have gone on to double the number. As Kiwis, we are stuck with eight Tests a year, so for them to achieve 50 Tests - its over a long period of time. Tim has grown in stature over the last couple of years and Kane has been Kane for a long period of time. Theyve both put in big performances for us. -- BJ WatlingESPNcricinfo takes a look at three of the biggest moments in the careers of New Zealands Northern Districts team-mates.Dazzling debutsBoth Southee and Williamson made an immediate impact after making their Test debuts.Southee was drafted into the XI for the third Test of the 2008 home series against England on the back of performances at the Under-19 World Cup in Malaysia, after Kyle Mills was injured. By that stage, Southee had already made his debut in the shorter formats. Daniel Vettori believed he was ready and Southee showed exactly that.In his second over, he had Michael Vaughan trapped lbw, and went on to remove Andrew Strauss as Englands top order crashed to 4 for 3. Later, Southee claimed Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad and Ryan Sidebottom to finish with 5 for 55, but it was not enough to prevent a New Zealand defeat.Two years later, Williamson, who had been on New Zealands radar from the age of 14, but whose international career began with a couple of ducks in ODIs, was picked for the first Test of the tour of India, in Ahmedabad. After watching India pile on the runs, he saw his own side slip, before pulling them up to level terms through a 194-run stand with Jesse Ryder - New Zealands second-highest fifth-wicket stand in Tests. Both batsmen notched up centuries, with Williamsons back-foot technique particularly standing out. His efforts helped New Zealand draw the match.Subcontinental success Making an impact on the surfaces in the subcontinent is seen as a defining moment in a cricketers career. For Southee, that came in 2012, when Williamson had a second success.Southees swing got the better of India in Bangalore where he accounted for all but three of their batsmen on his way to 7 for 64.dddddddddddd Southee dismissed Gautam Gambhir and Cheteshwar Pujara in his opening spell, Suresh Raina later on, before engineering a lower-order collapse in which India lost four wickets for 19 runs. Of note was the way he consistently moved the ball away from the right-handers and used the offcutter. New Zealand took a 12-run first-innings lead, but still lost the match. Southee followed up with a five-for against Sri Lanka in Colombo later that year. In that same Colombo Test, Williamson scored his third Test century and put on a defiant 262-run third-wicket stand with Ross Taylor. Having already lost the first match, New Zealand had slipped to 14 for 2, when Williamson and Taylor came together and showed fight. In a chanceless five hours at the crease, Williamsons work off the back foot was particularly impressive, but his ability against spin too made the century special. New Zealand won the match and squared the series. Williamson has since struck centuries in Chittagong and Sharjah.On the Lords honours board Being recognised at the Home of Cricket is also an important step in a cricketers career. Southees moment came in the first Test of their 2013 tour, when he kept New Zealand in the match after England had taken a slender first-innings lead. At 159 for 2 in the second innings, England were 184 ahead when Southee flattened Joe Roots middle stump and took out Johnny Bairstows entire set, before bouncing out Matt Prior to take three wickets in 16 deliveries. He went on to remove Ian Bell and Graeme Swann to finish with 6 for 50. New Zealand had a gettable 239 to chase, but were bowled out for 68.Williamsons inscription on the board came two years later, in 2015. After England posted 389, New Zealand began a solid reply, but it was Williamson who allowed them to edge ahead with another solid stand with Taylor - of 189 runs - and an assured century, his 10th in Test cricket. Williamson had not batted for more than a month before that innings, but his timing, especially through third man, and his concentration at the crease were the complete opposite of a man who may have been out of touch. He ensured New Zealand took a healthy 134-run lead, although they eventually lost by 124 runs. ' ' '
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