Tiger Woods painted an uncertain picture about how much golf he can play, saying that “I don’t have much left in this leg”.
Woods is at Albany Golf Club strictly as the tournament host. He had to withdraw because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot that makes it too difficult to walk over 72 holes, even on a relatively flat course for a holiday event.
Woods said he was posting low scores at home in Florida while riding in a cart. And his next two events — a made-for-TV match over 12 holes on December 11, and the PNC Championship with his son the following weekend — allow for carts.
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“I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want,” he said. “I just can’t walk.”
He said the plantar fasciitis was related to injuries he suffered in the Los Angeles car crash in February 2021, which ended any hope of him playing on a regular basis.
A year ago, Woods was just starting to take full swings with the driver and his ambition was to make it to St Andrews for the 150th edition of the British Open. He wound up playing the Masters and the PGA Championship, too.
That amounted to nine rounds — four at Augusta National, three at the PGA Championship (he withdrew after the third round) and two at St Andrews.
Woods felt he was making progress in the months after the British Open, only to hurt his right foot while trying to prepare for a 72-hole event in the Bahamas.
“When you get plantar fasciitis, the worst thing you can do is walk, and I was walking more and more and more, trying to get my legs ready for this event, and I just kept making it worse,” he said.
“So had to shut it down.”
He said he would take a month or two to rest, which won’t affect his golf schedule because he wasn’t going to play that much, anyway.
This has been coming. Woods turns 47 on December 30, and he has had roughly as many surgeries as majors he was won (15).
“The goal is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more. That’s it. Physically, that’s all I can do. I told you that (at) the beginning of this year, too,” he said.
“I mean, I don’t have much left in this leg, so gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, lightning catches in a bottle and I’m up there in contention with a chance to win, and hopefully, I remember how to do that.”
He said he did everything to prepare for St Andrews, only for his leg to act up on him and lead to an early departure packed with emotion. Woods does not anticipate returning to another Open at St Andrews.
His health wasn’t great that week beyond his leg, though it wasn’t COVID-19.
McIlroy, in a wide-ranging interview with the Sunday Independent in Ireland, said he and Woods played a practice round at Ballybunion on the Thursday before the British Open and McIlroy was feeling ill afterward.
He said sweat was pouring off him and his temperature spiked. McIlroy called Woods, who reported he was feeling fine. But then Woods texted him that night and said he had chills and a fever.
“And I’m like, ‘(Expletive), I’ve just given Tiger COVID!’ This is horrendous!'” McIlroy said. “So we both had COVID going into the Open.”
Woods said he tested for the coronavirus and it came back negative.
“Was I feeling under the weather? Yes, wasn’t feeling great the whole week,” Woods said. “But I never got a positive test.”
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