Tiger Woods painted an uncertain picture about how much golf he can play, saying on Tuesday, “I don’t have much left in this leg.”
He also doesn’t have much hope that the PGA Tour and the Saudi-funded rival league will get along unless Greg Norman is out as leader of LIV Golf.
“Not now. Not with their leadership. Not with Greg there and his animosity towards the tour itself,” Woods said from Nassau, Bahamas. “I don’t see that happening.”
Rory McIlroy also said in Dubai two weeks ago that Norman “must leave the stage left” before meaningful discussions can take place between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.
Woods artfully sidestepped other questions on Tuesday, such as details about two unexpected surgeries he underwent last year and whether the 20-man field at the Hero World Challenge should receive world ranking points.
He was forceful about the effect of LIV Golf, referring to friction the rival league has created and how lawsuits stand in the way of reconciliation.
“If one side has so much animosity, someone trying to destroy our tour, how do we deal with it?” Woods said.
Phil Mickelson was one of 10 players who filed an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour in August, a lawsuit that has since been taken over by LIV Golf. Bryson DeChambeau, Peter Uihlein and Matt Jones are the only players still involved as plaintiffs. The PGA Tour has since filed a countersuit. A trial date is tentatively scheduled for January 2024.
Woods said the lawsuits would have to be settled — he used the word “stay” more than once — or there is no way forward.
Score well while driving
Woods is strictly at Albany Golf Club hosting the tournament. He had to pull out on Monday because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, which makes it too difficult to walk over 72 holes even on a relatively flat course for a holiday event.
Woods said he posted low scores while riding in a cart at home in Florida. And his next two events — a televised 12-hole contest on Dec. 10 and the PNC Championship with his son the following weekend — allow carts.
“I can hit the golf ball and hit any shot you want,” he said. “I just can’t walk.”
He said the plantar fasciitis was related to injuries he sustained in the Los Angeles car accident in February 2021, which left any hope that he would play regularly.
A year ago, Woods was just getting into full swing with the driver and his ambition was to make it to St Andrews for the 150th running of the British Open. He also ended up playing the Masters and the PGA Championship.
That amounted to nine rounds – four at Augusta National, three at the PGA Championship (he retired after the third round), and two at St. Andrews.
Woods felt like he was making progress in the months following the British Open, but he hurt his right foot while trying to prepare for a 72-hole event in the Bahamas.
“When you get plantar fasciitis, the worst thing you can do is walk, and I was walking more and more and trying to get my legs ready for this event, and I was just making it worse,” he said. “So, had to shut it down.”
The goal is to play only the major championships and maybe one or two more [tourneys]. That is it. Physically that’s all I can do.— Tiger Woods on problems with his right leg and foot
He said he would take a month or two off, which won’t affect his golf schedule since he wouldn’t be playing that much anyway.
This is coming. Woods will be 47 on December 30, and he’s had about as many surgeries as majors he’s won (15).
Hampered by leg at British Open
“The goal is to play only the big championships and maybe one or two more. That’s all. Physically that’s all I can do. I told you that [at] early this year,” he said.
“I mean I don’t have much left in this stage so get ready for the biggest one and hopefully lightning is in a bottle and I’m on top of the battle with a chance to win, and hopefully I remember how to to do that.”
He said he did everything he could to prepare for St Andrews, only for his leg to act on him and lead to an early exit full of emotion. Woods does not expect to return to another Open in St Andrews.
His health was not great that week outside of his leg, although it was not COVID-19.
McIlroy said in an extensive interview with Ireland’s Sunday Independent that he and Woods played a practice round at Ballybunion on the Thursday before the British Open and McIlroy felt ill afterwards.
He said sweat dripped off him and his temperature spiked. McIlroy called Woods, who reported that he was feeling well. But then Woods texted him that night and said he had chills and a fever.
“And I’m like, ‘[Expletive]”I just gave Tiger COVID!” This is horrible!” said McIlroy. “So we both had COVID heading into the Open.”
Woods said he tested for the coronavirus and it came back negative.
“Did I feel bad weather? Yeah, I didn’t feel great all week,” Woods said. “But I never got a positive test.”