Tiger Woods said he no longer needs to use crutches and thinks he can return ene day return to the PGA Tour on a part-time basis. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods spoke publicly Tuesday for the first time since his February car crash and told reporters he doesn't expect to return to a full practice and event schedule on the PGA Tour because of back and leg injuries.
Woods, 45, sustained fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg when he lost control of his car Feb. 23 outside of Los Angeles. He told reporters he still experiences pain.
Woods made the comments at a news conference for the 2021 Hero World Challenge, an annual event he hosts in the Bahamas. He last played at the Masters Tournament in Nov. 2020 in Augusta, Ga.
"I don't foresee this leg ever being what it used to be. ... I'll never have the back it used to be, and clock's ticking," Woods said of his potential return to the PGA Tour. "I'm getting older, I'm not getting any younger.
"All that combined means a full schedule and a full practice schedule and the recovery that would take. No, I don't have any desire to do that."
Woods said there is "no reason" he can't "ramp up" for a few events each year.
"I may not be tournament-sharp in a sense that I haven't played tournaments, but I think if you practice correctly and you do it correctly, that I've come off surgeries before," Woods said.
"So I know the recipe for it, I've just got to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough where I can do that again.''
Woods posted a video of himself taking practice swings two weeks ago. He said Tuesday that he resumed playing entire holes, but his drives are not as deep as before.
"To see some of my shots fall out of the sky a lot shorter than they used to is a little eye-opening," Woods said. "But at least I'm able to do it again.
"That's something that for a while there didn't look like I was going to. I'm able to participate in the sport of golf. Now to what level, I do not know that."
Woods, who underwent several back surgeries before his car crash, said his recovery from the leg injuries is "much more difficult" than previous rehabilitations. He did not answer a direct question Tuesday about if he targets a specific tournament for his comeback.
He compared his comeback to that one made by Hall of Fame golfer Ben Hogan, who was involved in a car accident in 1949.
Like Woods, Hogan sustained significant leg injuries. He returned to play in nine tournaments in 1950 and four tournaments in 1951. He won six major titles after his injury.
"As far as playing at the Tour level, I don't know when that is going to happen," Woods said. "I'll play a round here and there, a little hit and giggle. I can do something like that.
"The United States Golf Association suggests play forward [driving from a shorter distance]. I really like that idea now. I don't like that the tees are on back."
Despite admitting he doesn't plan a full-time PGA Tour return, Woods left the door open for a potential 16th major championship.
"Maybe, one day, it will be good enough where I can get out here and compete against these best players in the world again," Woods said.
Woods said he can chip and putt with the current golfers on the PGA Tour, but needs to major improvement with his drives.
"I gotta get a little bit bigger game than that," Woods said. "I've got a long way to go in the rehab process to be able to do something like that."
The 2021 Hero World Challenge runs from Thursday through Sunday at Albany Golf Club in Albany, Ga. The event will air on Golf Channel and NBC.