Golf fans will have to wait a few more weeks to see Tiger Woods play again.
The 15-time major champion was forced to pull out of this week’s Hero World Championship in the Bahamas due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Doctors told Woods it was related to severe injuries to his right leg and foot in a February 2021 car accident outside Los Angeles. Woods revealed that he had two more surgeries last year.
Woods, 46, said he still plans to play in two events next month because he can use a cart. Woods and world No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy will battle Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in the latest edition of The Match, scheduled for Dec. 10 at Pelican Golf Club outside Tampa, Florida.
Woods is slated to play his son Charlie at the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida on December 17-18.
On Tuesday, Woods met the media for the first time since the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews in July. During a 30-minute news conference in the Bahamas, he spoke on a wide range of topics, including his health, future plans, the PGA Tour’s battle with LIV Golf and more.
Are you surprised you didn’t get to play in the Hero World Tournament this week?
WOODS: Well, the higher I went and the more I had to walk, the worse it got. So when you get plantar fasciitis, the worst thing you can do is walk, and I was walking more and more, I was trying to prepare my feet for this event, and I was getting worse. in order to [I] It had to close and unfortunately the show’s host and Ranger Rick left here. So I can do that.
What is your goal next year, how many tournaments do you want to play?
Woods: The goal is to play the major championships and maybe one or two more. no more. That’s all I can do, physically. i told you. [at] At the beginning of this year. I mean, I don’t have much left in this leg so get ready for the big ones and hopefully, you know, lightning is caught in a bottle and I’m in there with a chance to win. Hopefully, I will remember how to do it. But again, I’ll give myself to get out there again. Like I said, I didn’t expect to play three majors this year. We were only hoping for the British Open, but I managed to get two more there, so that was a big positive.
You must have worked incredibly hard to get to the point where you can play here. I know you can’t play. You’ll have a part of you that thinks, “Why keep going? Why try this again and again? I have nothing else to prove.”
Wood: Well, I like to compete. You know, I like sports. Basically I’ve been playing it my whole life. And you know, actually, I’ve been a professional for more than half my life. So, if you think about it in these terms, see if it’s a sporting event or not. The sad thing is that I can’t do what I mentally feel I can do – my body won’t accept it. When I was at home, I would shoot 4, 5, 6, 7 as if it was nothing, but I was in the cart. Now add a foot and this goes. So I have to get to the point where I can go around and play that way, just like you all can. I can’t do that now.
Does a recent setback mean you’re behind on your return?
Wood: He’s probably going to take a month or two off. But also, it was the growing process that did it. It’s a balancing act, right? How much do you push him to progress without pushing him too hard to get off the edge and you put yourself back two, three days, and that’s a balancing act all year long. And trying to do that, get ready for this, I’ve done a lot of beach walks here to get the sand out and my feet don’t like that very much.
Have you ever considered using a golf cart at a PGA Tour event?
WOODS: On the PGA Tour? No. At sanctioned events, yes, which is the Champions Tour, PNC, things of that nature. My teammate was Casey Martin, OK, and I was against what he did with the ADA[Americans with Disabilities Act]. I think [walking] It’s a vital part of the game at our level and I never take a golf cart unless it’s sanctioned. It’s sanctioned on the Champions Tour and PNC is a part of that. As far as the formal event, no, I would never do that.
Rory McIlroy claimed in a report published last week that he contracted Covid-19 shortly before the Open Championship at St Andrews. Were you really tested?
Woods: Yes, I was tempted. I was always negative. I was feeling under the weather, yes, I didn’t feel well all week, but I didn’t get any positive tests.
Looking back a year ago, what surprised you the most or what didn’t you see coming?
Woods: “For me personally, I was hoping to play the British Open. [but] He ended up playing three major games, which isn’t too bad, all things considered. I didn’t expect to have a few extra processes due to playing, but that’s the way it is. The golf ecosystem, as complicated and changing as it is, and as hostile on both sides, I don’t think any of us could have imagined. I don’t think we would have seen that a year ago.
Do you foresee a day when the PGA Tour and LIV Golf can co-exist in the golf ecosystem?
Woods: There’s a chance that both organizations will stick to their lawsuits, but here’s the problem: They have to stick to it. And whether they do that or not, there is no willingness to negotiate if you have a lawsuit against you. So if they both get a break after staying and then meet and think about something, maybe there is something. But I think [LIV Golf CEO and commissioner] Greg [Norman] You have to go first, and obviously, litigation against us and then our litigation against them, those should stay that way. So we can talk, we can all talk freely.
As it is now, not now, not with their management, with Greg there and the hate on the tour. I don’t see that happening. As Rory said and I said, I think Greg needs to step down and then, hopefully, we can stay between the two charges and figure something out. But why would you change anything if you were charged? They accused us first.
Should the sides come to some kind of agreement soon?
Woods: Yeah, I don’t know if it’s me, Rory or the tour or the other players, I wouldn’t necessarily say the peacemaker, but I think we have a window of opportunity from both tours. Think about this soon. But I think that window is closing because the majors are coming now and they have their own criteria for the majors. But if they can do it sooner than that… But again, that goes back to LIV and their charges. They sued us first, we sued them, so they have to back off the table, back off the table and then we’ll have a place to talk. But their leadership must also change. If not, I think he’ll continue on the path he’s on now.
You and Rory McIlroy spoke to PGA Tour players before the BMW Championship in Wilmington, Delaware in August. Why do you think it was important to attend that meeting and what was your message to the other players?
Woods: Well, the message is we can’t compete dollar for dollar. [Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund]We cannot do this physically. But what we can do is talk about better opportunities for young players coming into the tour, what it means to play the tour, how important it is, how important it is to have a legacy. [to] Being able to win major championships.
We still don’t know where the major leaguers stand on this. So if you’re a tour guide, you know you’re in the major championships, you’re in the top 50, so OK, that’s a guarantee, but the other players don’t. You’re taking a chance that you’ll never know, getting the chance to play in the big leagues. And so where does your legacy end? You know, I went up [LIV] I toured and made a lot of money, but I couldn’t win any tournaments that would have put me in the hall of fame and natural stuff.
So yeah, there’s been a lot of talk about that and ways that we’re going to add bags, where we’re going to reward players who show up more than others. [PGA] Tour them, reward them, and also give the tour better access to different ages and different ways than we’ve had before. So it was a long meeting, many different options were presented and we all thought about it, sit back and relax. We had a lot of meetings after that, FaceTime meetings, trying to figure it out and make it better and also work with the tour to try and make it better.
Rory said as much as he said about LIV Golf. What did he do to his lead on the PGA Tour?
Woods: What Rory said and did is what leaders do. Rory is a true leader on tour. He was able to get the things he actually said in public, be very clear and very eloquent with him; Meanwhile, go out there and win golf tournaments at that, people don’t know how hard it is to separate those two things. But he was fantastic. He’s a great leader in the calls we make, and he’s a great leader with the players here. Everyone respects him and respects him because he’s not just hitting the ball, driving it.
Has the threat of LIV Golf changed how the PGA Tour operates?
Woods: There’s been some give and take from the players and the commissioners and their staff. I think this year is more than ever that we have the clarity to talk to our commissioner [Jay Monahan] And say, “These are the things we want to be better at on the tour, and here’s a list of them,” and prioritize it as well. Jay sat down with Rory in these meetings, many conference calls, and I talked to him.
I think we’ve made some good changes, but how do we fill in the players that have left? Obviously, that’s giving young newcomers to the game, college or amateur, the opportunity to earn even more. The game has gotten younger, period. I mean guys in their mid to early 20s are winning majors. But we also get young kids to come in here and play golf and experience the tour and experience what it’s like to play in major championships and win.
Phil Mickelson has taken a lot of heat for complaining about the PGA Tour. Do you think Mickelson owes him an apology for everything that has changed on tour, including higher purses?
Woods: No, not at all, no. At the time of the epidemic, we took a huge loan, so that if we have another year of the epidemic, our visit will last only for one year. We have taken huge loans. It worked, it paid our interest, so we were able to use that money to make the increase that we did.
Where do you see the fight against LIV Golf?
Wood: We don’t know. No one knows. Right now, there is a lot of hostility, especially towards their leadership. And you want to be a certified tour with World Class Points and you’re buying tours around the world. I don’t know what their end game is. Becoming an official member of the golf ecosystem and being recognized by world ranking points is all it takes. I think that’s what they intended.
You know, they spent probably close to $2 billion this year. Who says you can’t spend $4? [billion] Or 5 billion dollars next year? We just don’t know. It’s a never-ending money pit. But this is not necessarily creating a legacy. You want to compare yourself [Ben] Hogan you want to compare yourself [Sam] Snead, you want to compare yourself [Jack] Nicklaus You can’t do that there, but you can on this tour.
Is the constant animosity between tours good for golf?
Wood: As I said, I think it has to start with the leadership on their side. Understanding what is happening now is not in the best shape or future for the overall game of golf. What is the best way for our game now? Not this way. But if it is given, you have to make the two elements come together. If one side is so hostile, someone is trying to destroy our tour, how do you deal with that?
They won the Player Impact Program two years in a row last season after playing just nine innings in three major league games. What are your thoughts on PIP?
Woods: Everything will improve. See FedEx [Cup] We had repetitions. One of the years Vijay [Singh] He didn’t even have to pick it up. For the last season, he didn’t even have to come to our end-of-season event and win the FedEx Cup. We’ve had repeats of the FedEx Cup and it’s no different with PIP. I’m sure we’ll have different iterations of that in the future. There is no perfect system. Because of these specific players, they are looking for people who drive the tour, watch a lot, and watch golf [to] You will be rewarded for it. We haven’t found the exact model yet and we hope to soon. We are still working on it.
LIV Golf is trying to gain recognition from the official World Golf Ranking. What are your thoughts on the current OWGR?
Woods: Yes, OWGR, it’s a flawed system. Here is something we all know. The field at [the DP World Tour Championship at] Dubai got less points [the RSM Classic at] Sea Island and other top players were in Dubai, so there is an opaque system. How do you fix it? You know, those meetings are what we have to do. We’re going to catch him. [the OWGR] Committee and the main tours that participate in it. Somehow come up with a better system than the current one. I remember when I was a big leader in my career, I didn’t have to play a single tournament the next year and I would still be 1st. Then we changed the system. So it has changed before, and I’m sure this will hopefully change soon.
What do you remember about last year in men’s professional golf?
WOODS: Well, I think this whole year, it’s a year that we didn’t expect to happen – the animosity, the anger and then the players leaving, and then the way they showed indifference or disdain that helped the tour. Get to that point. There are a lot of things that I definitely don’t like and there are certain players who have been up front with it and announced it, and I respect them for that. But even that has a flip side that I thought was a little on the tasteless side.