Tiger Woods knows all about recovering from major injuries. He’s undergone five back surgeries and five knee operations throughout his career.
But what he’s facing now is more difficult than anything else he’s been through, Woods said in his first public comments since his severe single-car accident in California on Feb. 23.
“This has been an entirely different animal,” Woods told Golf Digest. “I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced.”
Woods declined to answer if he would play golf again, instead of turning the attention back to the matter at hand: recovering from the most difficult injury of his life.
He’s currently using crutches but hopes to walk on his own once more. That takes priority over whether Woods can return to the golf course, or whether he can compete at a high level again.
“My physical therapy has been keeping me busy,” Woods said. “I do my routines every day and am focused on my No. 1 goal right now: walking on my own. Taking it one step at a time.”
Woods was speeding on a winding section of road on Feb. 23 when he lost control of his vehicle, veered over the median and across the opposite side of the road. His car hit a tree and settled in a gully along the side of the road. Woods is not facing any charges related to the accident.
He was transported to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center immediately after the crash, where he underwent surgery on comminuted open fractures to the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg. He had screws and pins inserted in his right foot and ankle.
He was later moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he had follow-up procedures. After that, Woods returned to South Florida in March to continue his rehab work from home. It’s still unknown if Woods will need any additional operations or if he will regain full mobility and strength in his right leg.
The 15-time major champion has had plenty of visitors over the last few months, including Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas. After the crash, several players wore Woods’ traditional red shirt, black pants combination for Sunday’s round at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship.
“It’s been incredible,” Woods said of the support. “I have had so much support from people both inside and outside of golf, which means so much to me and has helped me tremendously.”