Nine months after a major SUV accident that nearly cost him his right leg, sidelined golf phenom Tiger Woods told reporters Tuesday that he does not know to what degree he will be able to play in the future.
“I’m lucky to be alive and also have a limb,” Woods, 45, said during a Tuesday morning news conference in Albany, Bahamas, at the Hero World Challenge, where Woods is the host.
“As far as playing at the tour level, I don’t know when that’s gonna happen,” said Woods, wearing a camouflage-print shirt with a Nike swoosh and a cap with his initials. “Now, I’ll play a round here and there, a little hit and giggle (noncompetitive, small-scale golf) — I can do something like that,” he said.
The comments from the 82-time PGA Tour winner marked the first time he has spoken publicly about the SUV crash Feb. 23 in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., that left him with severe injuries. Investigators blamed the rollover on Woods driving up to 87 miles-per-hour in a residential neighborhood — about 45 miles-per-hour faster than the local speed limit. Woods declined to answer questions Tuesday about the car wreck, saying investigators’ reports contain all the details of what he remembers.
The athlete’s news conference coincided with the publication of an exclusive interview with Golf Digest in which Woods said he was not likely to return to professional golf full-time. He told the publication that there was a “50-50 chance” at one point that his leg would have to be amputated.
Woods elaborated during his meeting with reporters, saying that potential amputation of his leg that required surgery was “on the table.”
Woods, who has won 15 major championships, explained during the news conference that he lingered in some dark spaces during his recuperation. He also watched a lot of sports on television, but avoided coverage of his crash.
“I didn’t want to have my mind go there,” he said. “It wasn’t ready.”
Woods also said, “There were some tough times in there. There were some really tough, tough times. It got pretty gray at times.”
New buzz surfaced about Woods’ golf future on Nov. 21, when the athlete tweeted video of himself swinging a club with the words: “Making progress.”
And while Woods has come a long way since the crash, he recognizes that he has new limitations.
“To see some of my shots fall out of the sky a lot shorter than they used to is a little eye-opening, but at least I’m able to do it again,” Woods said. “That’s something that for awhile there it didn’t look like I was going to, but I’m able to participate in the sport of golf. Now, to what level I do not know yet.”