Tiger Woods says he has medical clearance to 'start pitching' golf balls

— -- Tiger Woods is back -- well, back to hitting golf balls, at least.

On Thursday afternoon, Woods tweeted video of a slow-motion swing with a wedge, which was captioned: "Dr. gave me the ok to start pitching."

The 14-time major champion hasn't played a competitive round since January. After missing the entire 2016 campaign, he returned late last year with a promising T-15 result (in an 18-player field) at his own Hero World Challenge. He followed that with a missed cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in late January, then was forced to withdraw from the Dubai Desert Classic one week later with what he termed at the time as back spasms.

Soon thereafter, Woods underwent a fourth back surgery.

Since that time, he has repeatedly stated that he wants to return to competitive golf and that there exists no timetable for his return.

Woods, 41, is expected to be present at next month's Presidents Cup, serving as an assistant captain for United States captain Steve Stricker. He served in a similar capacity at last year's Ryder Cup.

Despite barely playing competitive golf this year, Woods has remained in the news for a variety of reasons. In the early morning hours of Memorial Day, he was arrested for DUI not far from his Florida home; according to a toxicology report, he had the drugs Vicodin, Dilaudid, Xanax, Ambien and THC in his system at the time.

Last week, nude photos of Woods and ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn were leaked on the internet; they are both reportedly considering legal action against the website that leaked those photos.

The world's No. 1-ranked golfer for a record 683 weeks, beginning for the first time in June 1997 and ending in May 2014, Woods is currently ranked 1,121st.