Tiger Woods is getting ready to play at the 2016 Hero World Challenge on Thursday, his first tournament since the 2015 Wyndham Championships.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Woods discussed at length his absence from the game as he recovered from back surgeries and what he’s anticipating as he returns to the PGA tour.
In particular, Woods detailed how strenuous his return has been, noting that for a while, he couldn’t even get out of bed.
“I just couldn’t get out of bed,” Woods said. “I needed help. It was a tough, tough time. Yeah, you ask me then, could I play? No, I can’t even get out of bed, how am I supposed to swing a club at 120 miles per hour?”
Woods also spoke about dropping out of the Safeway Classic in October and how it gave him extra time to better prepare himself for his return. In doing so, he also shared an anecdote that shows just how long he’s been sidelined.
“On top of that, it also gave me a few more months to get stronger and get my practice schedule up. [Woods’ caddy] Joey [LaCava] has come down a couple times and we played and we walked. And I hate to say it, but, I mean, you can walk and you can cycle, I was riding my bike at home 30, 50, and 70 miles per week on these rides. OK, that’s different than walking a golf course. I can walk on a treadmill for two, three hours — it’s not the same. Putting on spikes and uneven lines, my ankles are sore. My feet are sore. This is different. And so I had to get used to that.”
Woods said LaCava was also sore from carrying Woods’ bag around the course.
If anything, Woods being sore from wearing spikes and walking around the course should temper expectations for his return. Being sore isn’t unusual, given the intense procedures he’s undergone during his absence, but there are aspects of a golfer’s performance we take for granted, such as walking. He may really feel the length of his absence after he swings his clubs a couple hundred times.
Woods said his goal is to win the tournament, but also is keeping his return in perspective, noting that shooting 25-under, as Bubba Watson did at last year’s Hero World Challenge, will be a “tall order.”
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