Italian Open: Retief Goosen makes return after five months out through injury
Retief Goosen makes his return to competitive action at this week's Italian Open but is not expecting miracles.
Last Updated: 18/09/13 3:18pm
The South African has been suffering with back troubles for the past couple of years, but thought his problems were over after undergoing surgery in August of 2012.
However, having been forced to withdraw from the Players Championship this May after reporting more discomfort, the two-time major champion was informed he had a stress fracture in his back.
That necessitated an extended period of rest and recuperation before Goosen was given the green light to compete again in Italy this week.
The 44-year-old admits he is extremely rusty, but is hoping to use the event to try and regain some sharpness ahead of playing in the new PGA Tour season which now starts in October.
"The last couple of years have not been fun with a lot of injuries," Goosen told the European Tour's website.
"My back felt great at the start of the year and then suddenly I started to feel uncomfortable at the start of May and then the following week I couldn't hit the ball.
"I was then told I had a stress fracture on the L-3 facet joint and that meant another three to four months of rest.
"Yesterday was the first time I had played 18 holes in five months and I have to say that it felt a little bit weird! I had no idea where the ball was going to be honest and I think I lost about four balls but it is nice to be back and I am just very keen to get out there and play.
"It is never nice coming back when you have been out for so long. The swing is non-existent and the feel has just totally gone and you don't know where the club is.
"My goal for the next couple of weeks is to get some feel and some tempo and just try and get comfortable on the golf course again and see how the back holds up.
"This week is a great golf course to come back on and it is in great shape. I am probably not expecting to win this week so I just want to try and enjoy the week and see what happens. And in golf you just never know.
"There are a lot of good players here and I just don't know what to expect from myself."