It appears that Tiger Woods will always be a part of golf. But he may only play in tournaments as a spectator, something he’s willing to make a sacrifice for.
A source told The Players’ Tribune that the fact that Woods was injured just a week ago has provided Tiger a new perspective.
“As you know, I’ve been struggling with some back issues recently,” Woods said in a video on The Players’ Tribune. “Last week, I felt some tightness in the small muscles that run down my back. I also felt pain down my leg. I couldn’t turn my leg and let it go to the left.
“It was painful. I didn’t know how bad it was. I didn’t know if this was just bad luck. I just needed to let it calm down.”
Back to the past, Woods had struggled to fit back into the normal life he enjoyed as a full-time golfer. In 2016, Woods disclosed his first back surgery since 2014. In 2014, he had a series of microdiscectomy surgeries, and at the time he was given five to seven months of recovery.
Woods finished at 286th in the FedEx Cup Playoffs and opted not to play in the PGA Championship because of his back injury. In his first tournament back, Woods played six tournaments and finished at No. 121 in the FedEx Cup standings.
“The fact is, when I was in the Bahamas, you know, I didn’t have any flexibility at all, and then I had to get back into riding a bike and walking and hitting balls and feeling normal again,” Woods said. “And then after I did that, I did my second surgery on that same process to kind of get it all back. I had to get that all back and maintain it.”
According to PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan, the time off will give Woods time to prepare for the 2019 season.
“We support Tiger Woods’ decision to sit out the rest of the season,” Monahan said. “We appreciate all the time he has put into his rehabilitation program, and we are excited about the schedule he has been working with over the last several months. Tiger’s decision to return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge next month provides him the opportunity to prepare the way he wants, with the continuity of playing golf leading up to the Hero World Challenge.”
Woods is expected to play the Hero World Challenge at Albany in the Bahamas on Dec. 1-3. Tiger’s son, Charlie, will be an invited to the tournament. Tiger’s ex-wife, Elin Nordegren, is not scheduled to be there. Nordegren and Woods were married in 2010, but split in 2012 after reports that he had cheated on her with a string of mistresses. Tiger and Elin are working on building a relationship.
Regardless of Woods’ injury, Woods will miss the FedEx Cup playoffs to concentrate on strengthening his back.
“Now, you know, every time I hit a shot, I’ve got to pay more attention to my back because you know when I first got injured, I didn’t realize how much the back was hurting. So it’s been a lot of rehab. It’s a lot of back strengthening and a lot of arm strengthening,” Woods said. “It’s going to be tough at some point playing golf again and getting myself going again. That’s what really sucks about this whole process, playing golf and being part of this sport, is that you don’t really get a second chance.”
Woods isn’t sure when he will be able to take on the same routine he enjoyed before the injury, but he is working on that goal and knows it’s worth it.
“One of the things I’m getting more interested in is, going forward, how my back reacts to my life, to my family, to being outside. I want to get to a point where it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, it’s fine. This is what my normal life is,” Woods said. “I want to be able to take it easy. That’s something I haven’t been able to do.”
Woods added, “Never full time, ever again.”