Tiger Woods Says Body Could Stop Him Competing 'Sooner Rather Than Later'

The 47-year-old thinks his time as a potential winner of events could be drawing to a close

Tiger Woods at the range before the 2023 Genesis Invitational
Tiger Woods admits his days as a competitive performer could soon be over
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tiger Woods has admitted his days as a competitive player may be behind him sooner rather than later.

The 15-time Major winner is looking for a record 83rd PGA Tour win in this week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. However, by the time he tees it up alongside Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas in the opening round, it will have been just over seven months since he bowed out of the 150th Open at St Andrews in his most recent competitive appearance, and only his third of last year.

Woods has been attempting to regain fitness following a career-threatening leg injury sustained in a car crash two years ago. While last year’s performances yielded mixed results, he explained in the build-up to this week’s tournament that he can’t imagine the idea of not playing to win.

He said: “I have not come around to the idea of being - if I'm playing, I play to win. I know that players have played and they are ambassadors of the game and try to grow the game. I can't have my mind, I can't wrap my mind around that as a competitor. If I'm playing in the event I'm going to try and beat you. I'm there to get a W, OK? So I don't understand that making the cut's a great thing. If I entered the event, it's always to get a W.”

There is understandably plenty of interest in Woods’ performance this week given his sporadic appearances in 2022, and he admitted that it may not be too long before his body will no longer allow him to be competitive. He said: “There will come a point in time when my body will not allow me to do that anymore, and it's probably sooner rather than later, but wrapping my ahead around that transition and being the ambassador role and just trying to be out here with the guys, no, that's not in my DNA.

“Ambassador role in hosting events like this, in hosting the Genesis Invitational or the Hero, doing those type of things, I totally get it. But as a player, I flip the hat around and become a player, and from a player standpoint, I'm here to get that W.”

That includes this week’s tournament. He said: “I'm excited to go out there and compete and play with these guys. And I would not have put myself out here if I didn't think I could beat these guys and win the event. That's my mentality.”

Woods offered an update on his injury situation, too, and admitted it has been his ankle that has given him the most trouble over recent months. He said: “As far as the recovery, it's more my ankle, whether I can recover from day to day. The leg is better than it was last year, but it's my ankle. So being able to have it recover from day to day and meanwhile still stress it but have the recovery and also have the strength development at the same time, it's been an intricate little balance that we've had to dance. But it's gotten so much better the last couple months.”

Whether Woods’ ankle is strong enough to claim his maiden victory in the tournament remains to be seen, but one thing is clear – if he doesn’t claim victory this week, it won’t be because of a lack of desire.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

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.