(Reuters) - Tiger Woods, in his first competitive event in five months, headlines a stellar field at the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio this week seeking a PGA Tour record 83rd career victory.
The event at Muirfield Village Golf Club, where Woods has won a record five times, includes the top five players in the world rankings and a red-hot Bryson DeChambeau, who is riding a streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes.
Woods skipped several events with back issues since his last PGA Tour start, where he finished last among those who made the cut, but the 15-times major champion said physically he is now in a much better place.
"Back was just not quite loose. It was cold. I wasn't hitting the ball very far, wasn't playing very well, and consequently I finished dead last," Woods said of his last competitive round on the PGA Tour.
"Fast forward five months later, I've been able to train a lot ... I feel so much better than I did then. I've been able to train and concentrate on getting back up to speed and back up to tournament speed."
For Woods, who will play the first two rounds with world number one Rory McIlroy and four-times major winner Brooks Koepka, this will be his third attempt at breaking the PGA Tour record for all-time victories.
Since tying Sam Snead's mark of 82 PGA Tour wins at the Zozo Championship in Japan last October Woods has finished in a share of ninth at Farmers Insurance Open in January and 68th at the Genesis Invitational in February.
World number seven DeChambeau, who won the 2018 Memorial Tournament in his second appearance, looks like the man to beat.
For DeChambeau, the course will play much differently this time around given he bulked up significantly during the PGA Tour's COVID-19 break and has been producing startling distance off the tee.
"It's definitely a challenge no matter how you look at it with this added length, and I appreciate it, and look forward to using it to my advantage hopefully a few times this week," said DeChambeau.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)