Tiger Woods was all smiles ahead of this weekend’s PNC Championship as he makes his highly anticipated return to competition after a February car crash shattered his leg.
The 15-times major winner will play alongside 12-year-old son Charlie in Orlando, Florida, months after the car accident that nearly led to his leg being amputated.
“I still have a long way to go in this rehab process. As I said, I don’t have the endurance to be out here to play at the TOUR level.This is different. You saw it out there. I can hit around here, drop a ball here, hit a few wedges do, that. But to go out there and have 220 yards and know that you have to hit a 3- or 4-iron and miss the ball in the correct spot, and then hit certain shots and one stroke determines whether you win or lose, that’s a totally different mindset than what we have out here this week. I’m not there yet,” Woods told reporters after playing in a Pro-Am.
The 45-year-old pulled off one of the most amazing comebacks in sport when he won the Masters in 2019 to end an 11-year major title drought and pick up his fifth green jacket, adding to his reputation as one of the sport’s fiercest competitors.
“It was an awesome day. It was just awesome to be back out here playing and being out there with my son, and we just had an absolute blast,” Woods added
As for strategy, Woods said Charlie would hit most of the tee shots on the back nine, telling reporters his swing is “just not as powerful” as before.
“The ball doesn’t fly as far,” he said.
“The body is not what it used to be. Obviously it’s been a little banged up this year, and slowly but surely, I’ll get to where the speed will start coming back up, and I can start hitting the shots that I know that I see that just aren’t quite coming off.”
Woods, who endured four back surgeries and multiple knee operations in his career before undergoing a back fusion procedure in 2017, has not set a timeframe to return to the PGA Tour but said last month that he would love to play in the British Open next July.
“I couldn’t walk this golf course even right now, and it’s flat. I don’t have the endurance. My leg is not quite right yet and it’s going to take time,” said Woods. “I’m a long way, way from playing tournament golf.”
(Production: Peter Bullock)