Tiger Woods is excited about the challenge of making up for lost time following his remarkable return to golf at the US Masters last month. The 15-time major winner finished 47th at Augusta in his first tournament since his life-threatening car crash in February 2021. Woods chases a fifth US PGA title in Tulsa this week. For the latest news and sharpest analysis on golf, visit GolfDigest.com
Tiger Woods feels he is only “going to get stronger” as he prepares to embark upon a second tournament since his life-threatening car crash last year.
The 15-time major winner made the cut to finish an admirable 47th at the US Masters last month and is feeling positive about his game ahead of launching his quest for a fifth US PGA title at Southern Hills in Tulsa, scene of his fourth victory at the event in 2007.
The golden 26-year career of Woods looked to be finished when he suffered a horrific accident in February 2021 in Los Angeles that saw him confined to a hospital bed for three weeks amid fears he might lose a limb.
The 46-year-old – arguably the greatest golfer in history with 82 tournament wins on the PGA Tour – is adamant he is feeling optimistic about the future after seeing signs of improvement in his physical condition since surviving the physical demands of 72 holes around Augusta.
“There’s going to be limitations,” said Woods as he continues some gruelling rehab sessions of “ice baths” and “treatment tables”.
“There’s a lot of hardware in there and there’s going to be limitations to what I’m going to be able to do, but I’m going to get stronger.
I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH THAT IS OR HOW MUCH RANGE OF MOTION I’LL EVER GET BACK. BUT SURE IS A HELL OF A LOT BETTER THAN IT WAS 12 MONTHS AGO.
Tiger Woods plays in the marquee group of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday alongside fellow major champions Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, who is chasing the career grand slam at the par-70 circuit.
He admits he has suffered physically to recover his gait for golf, but has revealed how other people’s willpower away from the manicured confines of the sport continues to inspire him.
“Well, every day is a challenge for all of us,” he told reporters. “We all have our own challenges in our own different way, right. You wake up to the new challenge, the new day, and you’ve just got to fight through it.
“Some challenges are more difficult than others. It doesn’t mean that they are harder or easier than others. They are just different. Mine were different than some others.
“Some other people have been through much worse than I have. We have seen some pretty amazing – I have seen some pretty amazing things working with the military and what they have done and what they have come back from.
GUYS HAVE LOST LIMBS AND HAVE COME BACK AND REQUALIFIED FOR SPECIAL FORCES, AND THINGS LIKE THAT ARE INSPIRINGI HAVE SEEN SOME PRETTY AMAZING THINGS WORKING WITH THE MILITARY AND WHAT THEY HAVE DONE AND WHAT THEY HAVE COME BACK FROM.
“Guys have lost limbs and have come back and requalified for Special Forces, and things like that are inspiring.”
Tiger Woods finished on eight under for his four rounds 15 years ago in Oklahama, two strokes clear of Woody Austin and three ahead of Ernie Els to claim his 13th major.
The course has undergone extensive work since the 89th PGA Championship with Woods ready for the challenge of using his driver.
“It’s just different. It’s more faster, wide open. We saw how the seniors played it; a lot of balls were hitting and runs off to the sides, where that wasn’t the case when we played in ’07. It was catching in the rough,” he said.
“The rough is at a great length. It’s interesting because you can get a ball that comes out hot or you can get a ball that doesn’t come out at all. That’s the great guessing game.
THERE ARE GOING TO BE DIFFERENT SHOTS. I’VE SEEN GUYS USING HYBRIDS, AND I’VE SEEN GUYS USE 3-WOODS, PUTTS, WEDGES, 4-IRONS. YOU’LL SEE A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS.
“And then the forecast is going to be different every day in this wind. It’s supposed to be all different directions. We’re going to see a different golf course almost every day.”
According to the bookmakers, a Woods win would see them lose millions, but the American icon would hardly mind them suffering such an ordeal.
“I feel like I can (compete), definitely. I just have to go out there and do it,” he said. “I have to do my work. Starts on Thursday and I’ll be ready.”