“I’m lucky to be alive,” Tiger Woods tells the press following a car accident in which one of his legs was severed.
Tiger Woods, who was seriously injured in a car accident in February, was upbeat about the prospect of returning to a limited professional golf schedule in the future, but he was also realistic about the difficulties he would face.
In his first news conference since the February 23 crash in Southern California, Tiger Woods said, “I’m lucky to be alive and also have a limb.”
His foundation’s Hero World Challenge was taking place that day at Albany Golf Club where Tiger was playing.
While he was on his way to an endorsement obligation at the Rolling Hills Country Club, he was involved in an accident while driving down a winding mountain road. He referred to the 22-page police report that was released at the beginning of April.
After the accident, Woods spent three weeks in the hospital and the following three months in a hospital-like bed. His right leg and foot were severely injured, and he said it was “50-50” whether he would have to have it amputated.
This time around, Woods said, “this one has been much more difficult.” He was referring to his previous injury comebacks. It was one thing with the knee problems. There you have it. Then there’s the back. It’s difficult to convey the extent of the difficulty with this right leg. Being unable to move for a period of three months. To do nothing more than lie in bed and do nothing. I couldn’t wait to see the sun rise outside for the first time. That was one of my aims. When you’ve spent your entire life outside, that’s a big deal.
From a wheelchair to crutches to nothing, I’ve made it.” A lot of effort has gone into it.”
“There’s still a long way to go,” he said.
“I don’t know when I’ll be able to play at the tour level,” he admitted. As for a quick game here and there, I’m sure I can do something like that. The tees were recommended by the USGA as Play It Forward. The more I think about it, the more appealing it seems. The tees on the back aren’t to my taste. Play It Forward is one of my favorite songs. On the up and up and up and up, we can do this!
While it’s jarring to see some of my shots land much closer to the ground than they used to, I’m glad to be shooting again. For a while, it didn’t appear that I would accomplish that.”
On Nov. 21, Tiger Woods posted a video of him hitting a shot from a driving range with the caption “Making Progress.” He was vague about when he was able to walk again and how much golf he had played, but he acknowledged that he had played “some holes.”
This year’s victory at the Zozo Championship was his 82nd in a row after he returned from fusion surgery in 2017 to win three tournaments in 2018 and the Masters in 2019.
In addition to winning the final major, he added, “I ticked off two more events along the way. As a result, I don’t expect my back to be as strong as it once was, and time is running out.” As I age, I’m not getting any younger. All of that adds up to a very full schedule, which would necessitate a lot of practice time and recovery time, none of which I’m interested in.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr. [Ben] Hogan did a good job of ramping things up for a few events a year. There’s no reason why I can’t do the same and still feel ready. Although I haven’t competed in tournaments, I believe that if you practice correctly and do it correctly, you can recover from surgery. The recipe is there, I just need to get to a point where I’m confident enough to do it again.
On the way back from a tournament in Phoenix in 1949, Hogan and his then-wife, Valerie, were involved in a serious car accident. Hogan won 64 PGA Tour events and nine major championships during his career. They were struck by a Greyhound bus, and he sustained serious injuries, including to both of his legs.
He never played more than nine tournaments a year after the accident, with the most occurring in 1950. He only played four times in 1951, but he won the Masters and the U.S. Open, both by a stroke. Only six matches were played in 1953, but he won all three major championships he competed in.
The 46-year-old Woods, on the other hand, was a bit older than Hogan.
“I have a long way to go in the rehabilitation process of this leg,” Woods said. Repetition and breaking up scar tissue are the only ways to get results. It won’t be fun to deal with that, but the challenge will be fun. There are times when it’s two steps forward, one step back, but you’ve got to go through it. That’s what I enjoy about the challenge of getting in there and trying to push it. Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to compete against the best players in the world again. “I enjoy that part of it.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office reports claim “driving at a speed unsafe for the road conditions” and an inability to maneuver around the curves in Woods’ path led to his arrest. He was going over 82 mph in a 45 mph zone, and it’s not clear if Woods even tried to negotiate the curve.
To avoid the curve of the road, Woods drove straight into a median, hit an embankment, and knocked down a pillar before slamming into a tree and overturning the car in the process.
Back and leg pain plagued Woods as he was interviewed in Albany, New York, on Thursday night. According to him, that’s part of the problem.
Woods was asked about the July Open at St. Andrews, where he has won twice, but he was noncommittal about a schedule or a return.
Without a doubt, he would love to compete in the Open Championship. “I hope I’ll be able to physically.” My first priority is to get there. Competition won’t change, but I must make it.”
Speaking of his approaching 46th birthday, Woods joked that he’d be “in a cart” by then, alluding to his upcoming 50th-year-old status as a PGA Tour Champions eligible player.
“This year has been a year I would like to close the book on,” he said.