Tiger Woods, still hindered by the leg injuries he suffered in a 2021 car crash, says he is hoping to play the Major championships in 2023 despite setbacks this year.
“My goal is to play the Major championships and one or two more,” Woods told a press conference before the Hero World Challenge at the Albany in the Bahamas. “Physically that’s all I can do. I don’t have much left in this leg.”
Woods, who hosts the unofficial event that benefits his TGR Foundation, withdrew from the tournament on Monday because of painful plantar fasciitis in his right foot, which he said was related to the injuries from the crash outside Los Angeles in February 2021.
The 15-time Major champion revealed he had undergone two additional surgeries in 2022, although he declined to discuss specifics.
Woods appeared in just three professional tournaments in 2022 – making his return elite competition with a 47th-place finish at The Masters in April.
He withdrew after 54 holes at the PGA Championship, struggling with stamina after making the cut, then missed the cut at The Open Championship at St Andrews.
Woods said last year that in the aftermath of the crash it was “50-50” as to whether part of his right leg would have to be amputated.
On Tuesday he said it’s still a challenge to practice enough to be competitive while preserving his health.
“How hard do you push it to make progress while not pushing it too hard to go off the edge and you set yourself back two, three days,” he said.
The plantar fasciitis – inflammation in the foot that causes heel pain – began when he began increasing his playing time in preparation for this week’s tournament.
“It was a tough decision, just because I want to play,” Woods said of pulling out. “I like playing, I like competing, but unfortunately, I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want, I just can’t walk.
“And so I’ve had a few setbacks during the year that I still was able to somehow play through, but this one I just can’t.
“Only time can heal this one, and stay off my feet and get a lot of treatment done.”
Woods still plans to play in a 12-hole exhibition match on 10 December, teaming with Rory McIlroy against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
He’ll be able to use a cart for that event and in the PNC Championship on 17-18 December where he’ll play with son, Charlie.
“The PNC Championship will be a very easy week,” he said. “Charlie will just hit all the shots and I’ll just get the putts out of the hole, so pretty easy there.”
Woods reiterated that he would never seek permission to use a cart in a tour-level event, firmly believing that walking is part of the game.
Given his limitations, he said, he’ll “gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, you know, lightning catches in a bottle and I’m up there in contention with a chance to win.
“Hopefully, I remember how to do that.”
© Agence France-Presse