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Return in sight as Woods returns to range 'looking as good as ever'

Tiger Woods is back at his Florida home after completing his latest batch of rehab and has returned to full practice for the first time in more than three months. Question: is an imminent comeback on the cards?

That was the suspicion in golf last night as Woods was confirmed by a fellow pro to be hitting balls on the range just across the street from his Orlando residence where he was involved in the car accident in November which led to a torrent of revelations about his extra-marital affairs. Not only that, but Charles Howell says Woods “looks as good as ever”.

“I spent an hour with him yesterday," said Howell yesterday when arriving at the Honda Classic yesterday. "He looked as good as he ever has. Seriously, he seemed like he was hitting it the same as he ever did."

Howell claimed to have “no idea” when Woods will return from his “indefinite break” but speculation is now rife he will be back in time for the Masters in five week’s time. The Associated Press yesterday reported that Woods is practising properly for the first since winning the Australian Masters two weeks before the smash. AP also revealed that Woods returned to his Orlando residence on Saturday after a week of family counselling in Arizona. That is believed to have completed the 45-day course of treatment he had earlier received in Mississippi.

It seems highly doubtful Woods would his competitive return at next week’s World Golf Championship event in Miami, but the Bay Hill Invitational two weeks later is emerging as a strong possibility. The tournament is held near his home and earlier in the week there is also an exhibition match at Isleworth – the Tavistock Cup – in which he could make a tentative reintroduction.

Woods announced in his televised statement 12 days ago: "I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don't know when that day will be." Maybe he does now.