Former world number one golfer, Tiger Woods is relieved at the fact he could play without pain while admitting he struggled to walk and needed help getting out of bed during his recovery from a back injury.
The 14-time major winner underwent back surgery in April and was sidelined for almost 10 months.
The American made his return earlier in December with four rounds at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas,
“I hadn’t played without pain for a long time – it was nice to just go out there and chill out,” the 41-year-old wrote on his website.
“During that 10-month period I was away from the game, I had a hard time walking and often needed assistance getting out of bed.
“I appreciate competitive golf now more than I ever have.”
Meanwhile, Woods said on Friday that he still does not have a planned date for his official return to the PGA Tour, but he does hope to play a full schedule in 2018.
“I took a week off after Hero to train and build up my body because as a tournament week goes on, we all degrade a little bit,” wrote Woods on his website. “That’s just the nature of playing competitive golf. Now, I feel I’ve taken it to another level. I’ve started practicing again and was out with Justin (Thomas) the other day and had a good time.
“I’m continuing to progress and trying to get strong enough to where I can handle a workload again. I would love to play a full schedule in 2018. What that entails, including back-to-back events, I don’t know. I just have to continue to work on my body and game and see where I pan out. I wish I knew where I was going to play and when I was going to play — it’s a lot easier to prep for that — but we really don’t know. This is all unchartered territory.”
Based on what I saw from Woods at the Hero World Challenge, I fully expect him to play the Farmers Insurance Open at the end of January and, at worst, the Genesis Open in February (Woods’ foundation runs the event). But he’s still pretty noncommittal, which is a good thing.
Why wouldn’t he be? Woods was pounding drives well over 300 yards, driving par 4s, making eagle at par 5s, banging home putts and generally looking pretty amazing for someone in his early 40s who has had four back surgeries.
Still, Woods is preaching caution as it relates to what will likely be his final comeback (whether it works out or not). There isn’t really a surgery beyond having your spine fused together. Woods knows that. We all do. This is it. Win, lose or draw.
“It’s been a year filled with ups and downs, but I am very optimistic about 2018 and looking forward to great things on and off the golf course,” he wrote. “I think people are more appreciative about what I’ve been able to accomplish and I’m more appreciative of everyone, too.”