Golf News: Tiger Woods has ruled out a full-time comeback to professional golf, but says he still plans to compete in tour events as he recovers from a life-threatening automobile accident.
One week after sharing a short video on his official Twitter account showing him hitting balls on a practice range, Woods spoke about his development and future goals in the sport.
Following the single-vehicle collision in February, the 45-year-old had surgery for open fractures in his lower right leg, as well as damage to his foot and ankle, and stated he felt his leg would have to be amputated at one point.
Tiger Woods won his 15th major triumph at the Masters in 2019 after a remarkable recovery from back surgery, but he basically ruled out a repeat, telling Golf Digest: “I don’t have to compete and play against the best players in the world to have a nice life.”
“I had to climb Mount Everest again after my back fusion. I had no choice but to do it, and I did.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to ascend Mount Everest this time, and that’s fine with me. Golf is still a sport in which I can engage. If my leg improves, I may be able to click off an event here and there.
“But as far as re-climbing the mountain and reaching the summit, I don’t believe it is a realistic expectation of mine.
“I believe that playing the tour one day – never full-time, ever again – but picking and choosing, as Mr. (Ben) Hogan did, is a realistic option. Pick a few events throughout the year and play around with them.
“You prepare yourself for it by practising around it. That’s probably how I’ll have to play it from now on. It’s a sad truth, but it’s also my reality. And I’m aware of that, and I accept it.”
When Woods crashed, he was determined to be travelling at nearly double the legal speed limit, and he spent weeks in the hospital before returning to his home in Florida, where he is now undergoing significant rehabilitation.
“It’s been a long and arduous path, but I’m making some really encouraging advances,” Woods continued.
“I’ve had some particularly trying days and a few setbacks, but everything is moving along beautifully. I wish I could accomplish all I used to be able to do, but I’m not there yet.”
“I wouldn’t say it was 50-50 if I was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg,” Woods said, referring to his fears that his injuries were so severe that he would lose his leg.
At the Hero World Challenge event in Albany on Tuesday, Woods will conduct his first press conference since the tragedy.
He did warn, though, that his return to public life should not be interpreted as an indication that his latest comeback attempt is about to begin.
“I still have a long way to go – I’m not even halfway there,” Woods continued.
“In my leg, I still have a lot of muscle development and nerve development to undertake. I’ve had five back procedures at the same time. As the leg becomes stronger, the back may begin to act up – it’s a difficult road to travel.”
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