Tiger Woods feared losing leg but aims for part-time return to PGA Tour
- Golfer suffered serious injuries in February car crash
- American says health and family are now his priorities
Tiger Woods has admitted he will probably never make a full-time return to professional golf and feared his leg would be amputated following a car crash earlier this year.
The 15-time major champion suffered serious leg injuries in the February crash in California. In an interview with Golf Digest on Monday, he said any return to the sport will be limited.
“I think something that is realistic is playing the [PGA] tour one day – never full time, ever again – but pick and choose, just like Mr [Ben] Hogan did. Pick and choose a few events a year and you play around that,” he said.
Woods sustained open fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg in the crash and said amputation had been a very real possibility.
“You practice around that, and you gear yourself up for that. I think that’s how I’m going to have to play it from now on. It’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s my reality. And I understand it, and I accept it,” he said. “There was a point in time when, I wouldn’t say it was 50/50, but it was damn near there if I was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg.”
The 45-year-old has made remarkable comebacks before, most notably when he returned from a series of back surgeries to win the 2019 Masters. However, he told Golf Digest that his priorities now are his health and children.
“I don’t have to compete and play against the best players in the world to have a great life,” Woods said. “After my back fusion, I had to climb Mount Everest one more time. I had to do it, and I did. This time around, I don’t think I’ll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that’s OK.
“I can still participate in the game of golf. I can still, if my leg gets OK, I can still click off a tournament here or there. But as far as climbing the mountain again and getting all the way to the top, I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation of me.”
Woods’s 12-year-old son Charlie is also a talented golfer and the pair played together in an exhibition event last year. On Monday, Woods said he took pleasure in seeing his son grow as a golfer and has been helping with the mental side of his game.
“I went to golf tournaments to watch him play, and I’m looking at some of these scores he’s shooting and I said, How the hell are you shooting such high scores? I gotta go check this out,” Woods said.
“So I’d watch him play and he’s going along great, he has one bad hole, he loses his temper, his temper carries him over to another shot and another shot and it compounds itself. I said, ‘Son, I don’t care how mad you get. Your head could blow off for all I care just as long as you’re 100% committed to the next shot’.
“That’s all that matters. That next shot should be the most important shot in your life. It should be more important than breathing. Once you understand that concept, then I think you’ll get better. And as the rounds went on throughout the summer, he’s gotten so much better.”
In May, Los Angeles county sheriff Alex Villanueva said that Woods will not receive a citation over February’s crash and blamed the incident on the golfer’s excessive speed and loss of control of his vehicle. The sheriff’s department added that drugs and alcohol were not factors in the crash and Woods appeared to be sober when officers arrived on the scene.