Tiger Woods addresses pain medication issue ahead of return to golf

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(AP)

Tiger Woods says he is no longer reliant on pain medication to treat his oft-injured back as he prepares to play in his first professional golf tournament in nearly 10 months.

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Woods is returning to competition this week at the Hero World Challenge, an 18-man field with no cut. The event marks his first time playing since fusion surgery on his back in April.

Woods reached a low point on Memorial Day when he was arrested on a DUI charge after Florida police found his car parked awkwardly on the side of the road with Woods asleep at the wheel and the engine running. Toxicology reports revealed he had two painkillers, a sleep drug and the active ingredient for marijuana in his system. He later went through a treatment program to deal with prescription medication.

Woods says of his arrest that he was "trying to go away from pain."

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The 14-time major champion is expected to use Bridgestone golf balls and TaylorMade clubs when he returns to action. Woods signed a multi-year partnership with TaylorMade Golf last January after Nike (NKE), his longtime sponsor, opted to shutter its golf equipment business.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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