Woods says competitive return 'long way away'

Golf legend says he still can’t make a full-speed swing without risking a setback in his recovery from injuries


AFP December 05, 2021

MIAMI:

Tiger Woods said Saturday a return to competition is "a long way away" and will not come any time soon as he continues to rehabilitate from severe car crash injuries.

Woods said he still cannot make a full-speed swing without risking a setback in his recovery from a shattered right leg suffered in a February crash near Los Angeles.

The 15-time major winner spoke with telecaster NBC at the Hero World Challenge, the 20-player invitational Woods hosts this week in the Bahamas.

Asked when and how he would know he is ready to return to competition, Woods said, "That's a great question."

"Playing hit-and-giggle golf, it's easy," Woods said.

"But playing tour golf and being prepared to play and trying to shoot scores against these best players on the toughest golf courses, that's a totally different deal.

"I'm a long way away from that. Don't expect me to be out there on the tour level for quite some time."

Woods gave no timetable for a possible return on Tuesday when he gave his first public update in months on his health.

Woods shares the US PGA Tour all-time wins record with Sam Snead at 82.

While Woods is taking practice swings with his driver on the practice range, he does so but without the power that was once his trademark.

"I can hit it. It just doesn't go as far. The power is not there," Woods said. "I can hit any club in the bag. I'm not to the point where I can hear it land, so I'm OK."

But asked if he felt like it was risky to unleash a proper swing, Woods admitted, "If I go at it at my 'old' speed, yes it is."

Woods said earlier this week he wasn't planning on a full-time return to the US PGA Tour but wouldn't rule out being able to "ramp it up for a few events" at some future stage.

"I still have a lot of work to do," Woods said. "Still grinding. Still working hard. But I have a lot of work to do."

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