Tiger Woods declined to set a schedule for his return to the golf tournament on Tuesday in his first public appearance since a serious car accident earlier this year that left him “lucky to be alive.”
Speaking to reporters in the Bahamas ahead of the Hero World Challenge, Woods said he would never regain the full strength of his right leg, which was shattered after the Los Angeles crash in February.
Woods, 45, told Golf Digest in an interview on Monday that his days as a full-time professional golfer are over, saying he will now pick tournaments.
On Tuesday, the 15-time major winner gave no indication as to when he expected to be fit enough to play a full 72-hole pro event, repeatedly pointing out that his recovery was underway and that he still had pain in his back and leg.
“As far as playing at the tour level, I don’t know when it’s going to happen,” said Woods.
“Now I’m going to play a trick here or there, flick and laugh, I can do something like that,” Woods said.
Woods reiterated that he expects his post-crash career to mirror that of great golfer Ben Hogan, who was seriously injured in a 1949 crash.
Hogan, who won 64 PGA Tour events and nine majors, never played more than nine tournaments in a season after the accident.
“I don’t foresee that this leg will ever be what it was, so I’ll never have my back what it was, and the clock is ticking.” I’m getting older, I’m not getting any younger, ”Woods said. “All of that combined means a full schedule and a full training schedule and the recovery it would take to do that. I don’t want to do it. this.”
Risk of amputation
“But pick up the pace for a few events a year like Mr. Hogan has done, and he’s done a pretty good job, there’s no reason I can’t do it and feel ready.” I might not be tournament sharp in the sense that I haven’t played tournaments, but I think if you train right and do it right I have already quit having surgeries. “
“So I know the recipe, I just need to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough that I can do it again. “
While Woods isn’t speculating on a possible return goal, he admitted he would be keen to play next year’s British Open, which will mark his 150th anniversary in St. Andrews, the golfing homeland where Woods already has. won twice.
“Yeah, I would love to play at St. Andrews, no question,” said Woods. “Physically, I hope I can. I have to get there first. The tournament is not going anywhere, but I need to This is my favorite golf course in the world. To be a two-time Open champion. there just being part of the Champions Dinner is really cool.
“Since my first in 2005, I’ve been able to attend a Champions Dinner, it was pretty neat to be part of it.”
Woods, meanwhile, declined to comment directly on his memories of the crash, which left him unable to walk unaided for several months.
However, he revealed that the amputation of his mutilated leg, which suffered two open fractures, had been “on the table”.
“I’m lucky to be alive, but I still have the limb as well. These are two crucial things. I’m so grateful that someone upstairs is taking care of me, that I can not only be here but also walk without a prosthesis, ”said Woods, who said his rehab was more difficult than his multiple returns. back and knee surgeries earlier in his career.
“The knee thing was one thing. It’s a level. Then the back. With that right leg. … It’s hard to explain how hard it is. Be still for three months. Just to lie down there. I just couldn’t wait to get out. It was one of my goals. Especially for a person who has lived their entire life outdoors, that was a goal, ”he said.
“I went from a wheelchair to crutches and now nothing. It’s been a lot of hard work. “
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