Tiger Woods on Golf Comeback: Long Way to Go, But ‘I Know The Recipe For It’
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods made clear he has no timeline for his return to professional golf, with short-term goals more in focus than the 2022 Masters.
However, in talking about a potential comeback, Woods reminded those watching that he knows the “recipe” to return.
What that comeback looks like will be determined behind close doors, but for the first time since his life-changing accident, Woods talked publicly to the media at the Hero World Challenge, a tournament he hosts.
Woods was mostly close to the vest with information, not divulging any additional details about his crash and what he remembers. He didn’t give any specific dates. His answers were often short and sweet.
“Yeah”, he said, when asked if he’s currently in pain later expanding to “my back hurts and my leg hurts” sitting in the chair.
He was clear, though, in saying it’s too early to target a return.
“Playing at the TOUR level, I don’t know when that’s gonna happen,” he said. “I’ll play a round here and there. Hit and giggle.
“I don’t like the tees in the back,” he said with a smile.
That seems to be his biggest challenge in terms of golf. As Tiger said, he will chip and putt with the best of them, but the lack of strength in his leg and back following 10 surgeries will hold him back from hitting it far enough to compete at the top level.
“Seeing some of my shots a lot shorter than they used to be is eye opening,” he said. “At least I’m able to do it again. For a while it didn’t look like I was going to.”
Woods mentioned the struggles of his time off, including not only three weeks in the hospital but three months in a hospital bed once he returned home. He needed assistance anywhere he went and his goal at one point was simply getting outside.
When talking about his most recent comeback, he talked about playing at home and shooting in the 60’s “without trying”, playing tournaments like the Hero World Challenge and building back up into the Masters champion.
“I don’t see that type of trend going forward for me,” he said. “I don’t see this leg ever being what it used to be. A full schedule, practice schedule, recovery — no, I don’t have any desire to do that. Ramp up a few times a year like Mr. (Ben) Hogan did? There’s no reason I can’t do that.”
Tiger said because of previous comebacks, he knows the “recipe” to practice correctly, come off long layoffs and win or come close to winning. But this comeback is his biggest challenge yet.
“Internally, I haven’t reached that point of playing against the world’s best (players) on the most difficult courses under the most difficult conditions. I’m so far from that.
“I have to decide whether or not I want to get to that point. I have to get my leg to the point that decision can be made.”
Listed at +3500 to win the 2022 Masters at DraftKings, sportsbooks appear more confident in his chances than Tiger does right now.