Tiger Woods says he is not concerned about the potential for seven matches in five days at the World Golf Championships-Match Play, despite having four back surgeries since he last played the event in 2013.
Woods will make his long-awaited return to the WGC-Match Play, held at Austin Country Club in Texas this week, but has never played the round-robin format adopted in 2015.
The 43-year-old won the WGC-Match Play three times during its one-and-done era – but now the event sees each of the 64 competitors play three group matches before the knockout phase begins.
The round of 16 and quarter finals are crammed into Saturday, with the semi-finals and final on Sunday.
Having pulled out from the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational with a neck strain, some were concerned for Woods playing too much golf on a hilly course two weeks out from the Masters.
"Well, it's not flat, I'll tell you that. It's a good walk," Woods said about Austin CC after a Tuesday practice round.
The 14-time major winner admitted he seldom played the volume of golf on offer at WGC-Match Play, where the two finalists will each play seven matches.
"It will be new for me; when I'm at home, I'm in a cart on flatter ground and (I) can play 36 holes in three-and-a-half hours," he said.
"Hopefully I can play well enough to get to the finals."
RIGHT: Spieth plays a practice round ahead of the WGC-Match Play in Austin. PHOTO: Warren Little/Getty Images.
Also in unchartered territory is University of Texas alumnus Jordan Spieth, who at 28th is taking his lowest seeding into the event.
The three-time major winner has slid down the world rankings and hasn't won since his Open Championship triumph in July 2017.
The former World No.1 is yet to earn a top-25 result in 2019 and hasn't posted a top 10 since last year's Open.
Woods begins his campaign against Aaron Wise while Spieth takes on fellow American Billy Horschel.
Rory McIlroy, the 2015 WGC-Match Player winner, is up against big hitter Luke List while World No.1 Dustin Johnson will face Chez Reavie.
The WGC-Match Play has a US$10.25 million (AU$14.4m) purse, with a winner's prize of US$1.74m (AU$2.5m), and this week features 64 of the top 66 on the world rankings.
- Evin Priest, Australian Associated Press