Legendary golfer Tiger Woods admitted ahead of his Hero World Challenge charity tournament that he considers himself ‘lucky to be alive’ following his car crash earlier this year.
Speaking Tuesday in the Bahamas at his first press conference since the February crash, during which he became emotional at times, the 45-year-old said he was ‘at peace’ with his rehabilitation and is considering a comeback to participate at The Open, although he ruled out a full-time return to the PGA tour.
‘I’m lucky to be alive and also have a limb,’ Woods told reporters Tuesday morning. ‘Those are two crucial things, I’m very grateful that someone upstairs was taking care of me, that I’m able to not only be here, but also to walk without a prosthesis.’
Woods, who famously made a comeback from back surgery to win his 15th major title at the Masters in 2019, went on to speak about the ‘dark moments’ he experienced during his recovery.
‘This one has been much more difficult,’ he said. ‘The knee stuff was one level, the back fusion another level, this one with the right leg another level.’
He required surgery on open fractures to his lower right leg and further injuries to his foot and ankle following the single-vehicle accident and said the possibility of getting his right left amputated ‘was on the table’.
‘From wheelchair to crutches to now nothing, it’s been a lot of hard work,’ he added. ‘There were some really tough times. I am on the better side of it but still have a long way to go.’
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Tiger Woods, 45, appears to have a new sense of focus and gratitude after surviving a horrific car crash in February. Pictured: Woods speaking at a presser Tuesday ahead of his charity Hero World Challenge tournament
Workers found a vehicle after a rollover accident involving legendary golfer Tiger Woods on February 23. Woods suffered severe leg injuries in the one-car accident and underwent several surgeries
Woods required surgery on open fractures to his lower right leg and further injuries to his foot and ankle after the crash. He said at one point, he feared that his right leg could be amputated
Woods wore a brace on his right leg and used crutches for three weeks before returning to his home in Florida to recover
Woods, who was found to be travelling at almost twice the legal speed limit when he crashed, was hospitalized for three weeks before returning to his home in Florida, where he continues to undergo extensive rehabilitation.
Asked how difficult his recovery has been, he said: ‘Just laying there. I was in a hospital bed for three months.
‘It’s hard to explain how difficult it’s been, to be immobile for three months. I was just looking forward to getting outside, that was a goal of mine.
‘There were some really tough times and the pain got pretty great at times but I could see some light which gave me hope. I am on the positive side.’
Prior to the crash, the American completed a remarkable recovery from back surgery to win his 15th major title at the Masters in 2019
On Monday, Woods ruled out a full-time return to professional golf but said he is still intent on playing tour events, specifically targeting the 150th open at St Andrews, widely considered as the ‘home of golf’.
‘I would love to play at St Andrews there’s no doubt about it, it is my favourite golf course in the world, to be a two-time Open champion there…just even being part of the champions dinner is really neat,’ he confessed.
‘It’s just an honour to be a part of a room like that and, yes, I would love to be able to play that Open championship there is no doubt about it. Physically, hopefully I can, I gotta get there first. The tournament isn’t gonna go anywhere, but I gotta get there.
Woods also spoke of his progress and remaining ambitions in the sport, one week after posting a short clip on his official Twitter account showing him hitting balls on a practice range.
Last week, Woods posted a video of him hitting balls for the first time since his car crash
Although he was wearing a protective cast on his right leg, he still showed his trademark swing
He told Golf Digest: ‘I don’t have to compete and play against the best players in the world to have a great life.
‘After my back fusion, I had to climb Mount Everest one more time. I had to do it, and I did.
‘This time around, I don’t think I’ll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that’s OK. I can still participate in the game of golf. I can still, if my leg gets OK, click off a tournament here or there.
‘But as far as climbing the mountain again and getting all the way to the top, I don’t think that’s a realistic expectation of me.
‘I think something that is realistic is playing the tour one day – never full-time, ever again – but pick and choose, just like Mr (Ben) Hogan did. Pick and choose a few events a year and play around that.’