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Tiger Woods Has No Timetable For Return to PGA Tour

Woods, the host of this week's Genesis Invitational, says his recovery from a car crash a year ago remains "frustrating."
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PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Tiger Woods expressed optimism that he will come back to compete again on the PGA Tour, but he offered no timetable on a return and made it clear that the road to recovery from multiple injuries remains long.

Woods spoke to the media for the first time since playing the PNC Championship in December with his son, Charlie, during a news conference at Riviera Country Club, where he is host of this week’s Genesis Invitational.

“I wish I could tell you when I’m playing again; I want to know,’’ Woods said. “But I don’t. My golf activity has been very limited. I can chip and putt really well. And hit short irons very well. But I haven’t hit any long stuff seriously.

“I’m still working on the walking part. My foot was a little messed up there a year ago. My walking I’m still working on. Getting strength back. It takes time. What’s frustrating is my timetable. I want to be at a certain place and I’m not. I’m getting better, yes. But not at the speed I would like. It’s frustrating.’’

Woods described his golf as “weekend warrior stuff’’ on a golf cart and far different than what will be necessary to play on the PGA Tour.

“To play six rounds, pre-tournament practice, four competitive days. . . it’s the cumulative effect of all that,’’ he said. “I’m still working to get to that point.’’

Woods had come to Riviera a year ago this weekend as part of his hosting duties for the TGR Foundation, which runs the Genesis Invitational. At the time, he was recovering from a fifth back procedure, a microdiscectomy that had been performed the previous December. At the time, the biggest questions surrounded whether he would be ready for the 2021 Masters.

However, on the Tuesday following last year’s Genesis, Woods was involved in a horrific crash on the way to a planned video shoot as part of an endorsement for Golf Digest and Discovery.

Woods, who was the sole occupant of the SUV that crashed, suffered multiple open fractures to the upper and lower bones of his right leg. His right ankle was severely damaged, as well. The injuries were so significant that Woods later said he feared that part of his right leg might have to be amputated. He was in the hospital for weeks and then recovered at home for a few months after that, for a time barely able to get out of bed.

He played with his son at the PNC but was allowed to use a golf cart. The tournament was a 36-hole scramble, and while Woods’ game looked good and he said it was encouraging, it did not fool him into believing he was ready to return to full-time golf anytime soon.

Woods said he wished he could spend more time practicing – “digging it out of the dirt, he called it’’ -- and said he has not spent much time hitting balls with his longer clubs.

“Walking a golf course, that's a totally different deal,’’ he said. “Then walking out here for days on end, long days. Don't forget when my back was bad, when we had rain delays and had to reactivate everything and go back out there again. I've still got that issue, too. I've got a long way to go.

“Did it give me hope? Yes, it did because I went through a very difficult year last year. It gave me hope to be able to play with my son again and to be able to have fun with him and have those moments we had from a year prior to that. We built on that. Those are -- I wouldn't trade those experiences in for anything. We had two of the greatest days ever together just he and I. And then we had the LaCavas in there, little Joe and big Joe (Tiger’s caddie), it was the best.

“But that doesn't mean that I'm going to be back out on Tour playing anytime soon. I was very limited in what I could do (at the PNC). But being out here on Tour, you get exposed. And that's the beauty of this sport, you get exposed. There are no carts and you have to work your way around it, you have to be fit enough to be able to do this sport at a high level. You have to be able to practice at a high level to expect to come out here and win and I have not done any of that.’’

Given the difficulty of the course combined with its sometimes steep hills and undulations, Augusta National and the Masters would seem out of the question.

Related: See the Complete Field for 2022 Masters at Augusta National

Woods even dodged a query about participating in the Par-3 Contest that occurs on the Wednesday prior to the Masters in April.

“I could walk that now,’’ Woods said, referring to the nine-hole, 1,000-yard par-3 course at Augusta National. “I’m talking about playing golf. That’s a practice round a day. It’s four rounds. Competing. Physically, emotionally….’’

Asked again about the Par-3, Woods said: “I can do that now. But whether or not I do that… I don’t know yet.’’