Wed | Jan 26, 2022

Woods ‘far from’ playing

Golfer has little to offer on past accident or future in sport

Published:Wednesday | December 1, 2021 | 12:07 AM
Tiger Woods holds his first press conference, since his February 23 car crash in Los Angeles, at the Hero World Challenge golf tournament in Nassau, Bahamas, yesterday.
Tiger Woods holds his first press conference, since his February 23 car crash in Los Angeles, at the Hero World Challenge golf tournament in Nassau, Bahamas, yesterday.

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP):

TIGER WOODS had nothing to say about the February car crash that shattered his right leg and he had even less of an idea what his future in golf holds except that he is a long way from deciding whether he can compete against the best.

“I can show up here and I can host an event, I can play a par-three course, I can hit a few shots, I can chip and putt,” he said yesterday. “But we’re talking about going out there and playing against the world’s best on the most difficult golf courses under the most difficult conditions.

“I’m so far from that.”

Woods addressed the media for the first time since his February 23 crash on a winding road in the Los Angeles coastal suburbs. Police said he was driving at least 84 mph when he crossed a median and his SUV tumbled down a hill.

Doctors said he shattered tibia and fibula bones in his right leg in multiple locations. Those were stabilised by a rod in the tibia. A combination of screws and pins were used to stabilise additional injuries in the ankle and foot.

Asked his recollection of the accident, Woods said curtly: “All those answers have been answered in the investigation, so you can read about all that there in the police report.”

NO FLASHBACKS OF THE TRAUMA

When asked if he had any flashbacks to the trauma, he replied: “I don’t, no. Very lucky in that way.”

Woods said he felt fortunate to be alive and to still have his right leg – he said the possibility of amputation was “on the table” – and to be able to walk into the press centre at Albany Golf Club without a noticeable limp. From the waist up, with biceps bulging through a black-and-grey shirt, he looked like he did a year ago.

Woods is the host of the Hero World Challenge, which starts tomorrow for 20 elite players.

He said he spent three months immobilised – a makeshift hospital bed was set up in his Florida home – before he could start moving around on crutches and eventually walk on his own. Two weeks ago, he posted a video of his smooth swing with a short iron.

That raised hopes that he was on his way back yesterday, he hit the brakes on any notion that a comeback was near. Still to be determined is whether he even wants to go through the work required to compete at a high level.

“I have a long way to go to get to that point,” he said. “Now, I haven’t decided whether or not I want to get to that point. I’ve got to get my leg to a point where that decision can be made and we’ll see what happens when I get to that point.”

What was clear was that any golf in his future would be limited and it already was headed in that direction before the car crash. He played only nine times during the pandemic-shortened 2020, ending the year with a fifth surgery on his lower back.

“I’ve come off long lay-offs and I’ve won or come close to winning before,” he said. “So I know the recipe for it. I’ve just got to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough where I can do that again.”