Tiger Woods had nothing to say about the February car crash that shattered his right leg and he had even less of an idea what his future in golf holds except that he's a long way from deciding whether he can compete against the best.
“I can show up here and I can host an event, I can play a par-3 course, I can hit a few shots, I can chip and putt,” he said Tuesday. "But we're talking about going out there and playing against the world's best on the most difficult golf courses under the most difficult conditions. I'm so far from that."
Woods addressed the media for the first time since his Feb. 23 crash on a winding road in the Los Angeles coastal suburbs. Police said he was driving at least 84 mph when he crossed a median and his SUV tumbled down a hill.
Doctors said he shattered tibia and fibula bones in his right leg in multiple locations. Those were stabilized by a rod in the tibia. A combination of screws and pins were used to stabilize additional injuries in the ankle and foot.
Woods said he felt fortunate to be alive and to still have his right leg — he said the possibility of amputation was “on the table” — and to be able to walk into the press center at Albany Golf Club without a noticeable limp. From the waist up, with biceps bulging through a black-and-gray shirt, he looked like he did a year ago.
He said he spent three months immobilized — a makeshift hospital bed was set up in his Florida home — before he could start moving around on crutches and eventually walk on his own. Two weeks ago, he posted a video of his smooth swing with a short iron.
Making progress pic.twitter.com/sVQkxEHJmq— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) November 21, 2021
That raised hopes that he was on his way back. On Tuesday, he hit the brakes on any notion that a comeback was near. Still to be determined is whether he even wants to go through the work required to compete at a high level.
“I have a long way to go to get to that point," he said. “Now, I haven’t decided whether or not I want to get to that point. I’ve got to get my leg to a point where that decision can be made, and we'll see what happens when I get to that point.”
What was clear was that any golf in his future would be limited, and it already was headed in that direction before the car crash. He played only nine times during the pandemic-shortened 2020, ending the year with a fifth surgery on his lower back.
His right leg will never be what it once was. Ditto for his left knee, which has gone through five surgeries, one of them a week after he won the 2008 U.S. Open despite having shredded ligaments and a double stress fracture. He said his back won't be the same either, and it still ached even as he sat at a table for his news conference.
Woods turns 46 on Dec. 30.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.