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Tiger Woods has admitted that a return to competitive golf is still some way off. Woods hasn’t played since being hospitalised following a car accident almost a year ago. The former World No.1 had been in Los Angeles as host of the Genesis Invitational. However, two days before the tournament started, he was involved in a single-car accident that left him needing surgery on multiple leg injuries, followed by extensive rehab. Now Woods is back in Los Angeles to host this year’s tournament. When asked about his prospects of playing again soon, the 15-time Major winner said:
“I can still play, but I’m in a cart. Being a weekend warrior is easy, that’s not that hard. Hit your ball, hop in a cart, ride, barely step out of the cart, grab your club and hit the next one. And the longest walk you have is probably from, what, the cart to the green and back. I can do that, that’s not that hard, but walking a golf course, that’s a totally different deal. Then walking out here for days on end, long days. Don’t forget when my back was bad, when we had rain delays and had to reactivate everything and go back out there again. I’ve still got that issue, too. I’ve got a long way to go.”
Despite Woods’ reluctance to commit to a return any time soon, there have been signs he’s getting closer, most recently last December, when he played a semi-competitive round with his son Charley at the two-day PNC Championships and almost won the event, eventually losing by two strokes to John Daly and his son, John Daly II. Two months on, Woods didn’t rule out a return at some point:
“I have seen progress. I’m a lot stronger than I was then, I’m able to hit more shots. But as I was alluding to at the PNC, I was in a cart. I can play weekend warrior golf, that’s easy. But to be able to be out here and play call it six rounds of golf, a practice round, pro-am, four competitive days, it’s the cumulative effect of all that. I’m not able to do that yet. I’m still working on getting to that point.”
Nevertheless, Woods reiterated comments he made at the Hero World Challenge last November, stating he’d never tour full-time again: “Will I come back? Yes. Will I come back and play a full schedule? No. I said that at Albany, that will never happen again. I can play certain events here and there, but on a full-time level, no, that will never happen again. Pick and choose my events, whether they’re Majors or other events, I can do something like that, but come back and playing the Tour, yes, but not on a full-time basis.”
Woods revealed that he can step up his golf activities since the PNC Championships, but only to a point: “Short game-wise, yes, I can. Long game-wise, no, because that involves more loading, more torquing of the leg, and as I said, walking is something I’m still working on. I can walk on a treadmill all day, that’s easy. That’s just straight, there’s no bumps in the road. But walking on a golf course where there’s undulations, I have a long way to go. My leg was not in a very good position there about a year ago and I’ve had to work through a lot of different operations and a lot of different scenarios. It’s been tough, but I’ve gotten here, I’ve gotten this far and I still have a long way to go. Each and every day’s a fight and I welcome that fight.”
Asked about his prospects of playing in April’s Masters Par 3 contest, Woods was equally non-committal, saying: “It’s the competitive nature, how much that takes out of you mentally, physically, emotionally. I haven’t prepared for any of that. Going for a walk, I can do that. Am I going to be sore? Hell, yeah, but I can do that. Whether I do that or not, I don’t know.”
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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