Tiger Woods faced the possibility of having his leg amputated after his car accident. In a Tuesday press conference at the Hero World Challenge, his first such event since the February crash, the 45-year-old golfer revealed that having his right leg amputated “was on the table” after the accident.
“I’m lucky to be alive, but also still have the limb. Those are two crucial things,” he said. “I’m very grateful that someone upstairs was taking care of me, that I’m able to not only be here, but also walk without a prothesis. [Amputation] was on the table.”
Woods declined to discuss details of the accident during the press conference, telling reporters that “all of those answers have been answered in the investigations.”
In an April press conference, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that the primary cause of the crash was speed, adding that Woods was driving 84 to 87 miles per hour before he hit a tree.
Following the accident, Woods spent three weeks in the hospital, before he was bedridden for three months. The recovery, Woods said, has been “much more difficult” than that of his previous injuries.
“With this right leg, it’s hard to explain how difficult it’s been. Just to be immobile for three months and just lay there… [I] transitioned from a wheelchair to crutches and now nothing. It’s been a lot of hard work,” he said. “… There were some tough times in there. There were some really, really tough times. The pain got pretty great at times… I’m on the better side of it, but I’ve still got a long way to go.”
“As a whole it’s been tough at times, yes, some dark moments, but then again, as I was making progress through it I could see some light, and that was giving me hope,” Woods added. “I’m able to participate more with my kids and their activities and more with just life in general, so I’m on the positive side.”
As for if he’ll return to golf professionally, Woods echoed his recent comments in Golf Digest, in which he revealed that coming back full-time will never happen again. That reality, Woods said during the press conference, is due to both his injury and his age.
“I don’t foresee this leg ever being what it used to be… Clock’s ticking, I’m getting older, I’m not getting any younger,” he said. “All of that combined means that a full schedule and full practice schedule and the recovery that it would take to do that, no, I don’t have any desire to do that.”
Still, he said, “there’s no reason why” he can’t strive to compete in “a few events a year.”
“I’ve just got to a point where I feel comfortable enough to do that again… I have a long way to go,” he said. “I have a long way in the rehab process of this leg. It’s not the fun stuff of the rehab. It’s reps, and breaking up scar tissue, and the things that really hurt. That part of it is not going to be fun, but the challenge of it is.”
Now, Woods finds it “exciting” that he can hit a golf ball at all, though he doesn’t have “the endurance to stay out there for long periods of time.”
“To see some of my shots fall out of the sky a lot shorter than they used to was a little eye-opening. But at least I’m able to do it again,” he said. “That’s something that, for awhile there, didn’t look like I was going to [be able to]. I’m able to participate in the sport of golf, to what level I don’t know yet.”