(Reuters) - Tiger Woods will take the next step on his comeback this week at the Dubai Desert Classic, a step that just a few months ago he was not at all sure he would be able to take.

He had not played on the PGA Tour since August 2015 and went though back surgery in September and again in October of that year. His recovery was long and painful.

"It was tough. It was more than brutal," Woods said in a video interview released in conjunction with the Desert Classic event. "Because there were times when I physically didn't know if I could get out of bed."

In the 15 months before Woods next played in a tournament - the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December 2016 - he slid to 666th in the world rankings, having enjoyed a total of 683 weeks as number one.

Now 41, Woods has not won on the PGA Tour since 2013. His last major championship triumph was in 2008. But the American is glad for the chance to change that this week, at a tournament he has won twice.

"I am looking forward to it," Woods said. "I am looking forward to the golf course which is going to be playing a lot more difficult this year.

"It is going to be tricky, it is going to be tricky for all of us."

(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)