Tiger Woods doesn’t “have any desire” to be a full-time PGA Tour player again – but that doesn’t mean he’s ruling out a return to competition, in some capacity.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge – the first time he has faced questions since his single-car accident in February – Woods offered few answers on his playing future other than to say that he has a “long way to go” with his injured right leg.
“As far as playing at the Tour level, I don’t know when that’s going to happen,” he said.
Woods said that he could play a “round here or there, a little hit and giggle, I can do something like that,” but it was unclear whether that meant he’d be healthy enough to compete with son Charlie again at the PNC Championship, scheduled for Dec. 18-19 in Orlando. Tournament officials told Golfweek last week that it was holding a last-minute spot in the field for Woods, if he deemed himself ready.
Injured for the better part of the past decade, Woods said he talked with his family about whether he should even attempt another comeback, if his body cooperated. The consensus from the group was yes, but Woods cautioned that he “hasn’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,” he said. “We’ll see what happens when I get to that point, but I’ve got a long way to go with this leg.”
Instead, Woods reiterated his goal of wanting to play a Ben Hogan-like schedule of only a handful of events a year – likely the majors – and that he was unable, and perhaps unwilling, to shoulder the load of a full practice regimen. Already with 10 career surgeries (five apiece on his back and knee), Woods said he was immobilized for three months as he recovered from his latest injuries. When a reporter asked whether Woods was in pain sitting behind the dais answering questions on Tuesday, he replied affirmatively.
“My back hurts and my leg hurts,” he said.
At this stage in his recovery, Woods said that he has played full holes, but not from his usual tee markers.
“I don’t foresee this leg ever being what it used to be, hence I’ll never have the back what it used to be, and the clock’s ticking. I’m getting older; I’m not getting any younger,” said Woods, who turns 46 next month. “All that combined means that a full schedule and a full practice schedule and the recovery that it would take to do that, no, I don’t have any desire to do that. But to ramp up a few events a year ... there’s no reason that I can’t do that and feel ready.
"I may not be tournament sharp in the sense that I haven’t played tournaments, but I think if you practice correctly – and I’ve come off surgeries before, long layoffs and I’ve won or come close to winning before, 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.”