Tiger's comeback: In his own words
September 23, 2018
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- September 23, 2018
Tiger Woods' 81 victories on PGA TOUR
It’s been a long road back for Tiger Woods, who ended his five-year victory drought Sunday at the TOUR Championship. It was his first win in 1,876 days and the 80th of his PGA TOUR career.
We have compiled this timeline of quotes to let Woods tell the story of his comeback in his own words.
AUG. 4, 2013
Woods wins the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational for his 79th win on the PGA TOUR.
“One thing I'm proud of is how many years I've won five or more times in a season. Ten times. ... I've been able to win consistently, year in and year out.”
2013 Bridgestone Invitational: Tiger victorious
AUG. 25, 2013
Woods finishes second at THE NORTHERN TRUST despite struggling with back issues. One shot sends him to his knees in pain.
“It's definitely spasming. … Yeah, big time. … I'm not feeling my best right now.”
Tiger Woods dropped to his knees after hitting this shot at the 2013 THE NORTHERN TRUST. (Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)
DEC. 4, 2013
Woods speaks before playing in his Hero World Challenge, where he would go on to finish second.
“Injuries? Yeah, I think that's just a reality of playing sports. Any athlete who plays any sports is going to get injured. And the longer you play it, the more likelihood you're going to get injured. … I've certainly tried to curb my workout regime over the years. I don't run the mileage like I used to. I don't lift the way I used to.”
MARCH 2, 2014
Woods has to withdraw from the final round of The Honda Classic with a back injury.
“It's my lower-back with spasms. It started this morning warming up. It's the same feeling I had as (last year’s NORTHERN TRUST).”
MARCH 18, 2014
Woods’ back problems force him to miss his title defense at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.
"I personally called Arnold today to tell him that, sadly, I won't be able to play in his tournament this year. … Unfortunately, my back spasms and the pain haven't subsided."
APRIL 1, 2014
Woods releases a statement revealing he underwent microdiscectomy surgery.
"It's tough right now, but I'm absolutely optimistic about the future. There are a couple (of) records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I've said many times, Sam (Snead) and Jack (Nicklaus) reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.”Sam (Snead) and Jack (Nicklaus) reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine.
MAY 19, 2014
Woods speaks at a news conference promoting the Quicken Loans National.
“There really is no timetable. … It's not going to be up to me whether I play or not, it's going to be up to my docs.
JUNE 24, 2014
Woods makes his return at the Quicken Loans National, his first start since March.
“Anyone that has had any kind of nerve impingement, it's no joke. That part was relieved as soon as I got out of the surgery. That nerve impingement, that pain that I was feeling going down my leg was gone.”
JUNE 27, 2014
Woods shoots 74-75 to miss the cut at Congressional.
“I hate to say it but I'm really encouraged by what happened this week. I missed the cut by four shots. That's a lot. But the fact that what I was able to do physically and the speed I had and distance that I was hitting the golf ball again, I had not done that in a very long time.
“The back is in the past. … I had no setbacks, no pain.”
AUG. 3, 2014
Woods withdraws from the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after an awkward bunker shot.
“It happened on the second hole when I hit my second shot. I fell back into the bunker. I just jarred it, and it's been spasming ever since. It's just the whole lower back. I don't know what happened.”
AUG. 6, 2014
In his pre-tournament news conference from the PGA Championship at Valhalla.
“When I landed in the bunker, my sacrum went out, so pinched the nerve and hence the spasm. … It's not the site of the surgery. This is something totally different.”
DEC. 2, 2014
After missing the cut at the PGA, Woods doesn’t tee it up again until his Hero World Challenge.
“It feels great. It feels fantastic. I've done the proper rehab. I've gotten stronger. I've gotten more explosive. I've gotten faster. … I'm past the rehab portion of it, and now I'm in the strength development of it.”
JAN. 30, 2015
Woods shoots a second-round 82 at his first tournament of the year, the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
“I'm fine. (The back) is not an issue anymore.”
FEB. 5, 2015
Woods withdraws from the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open.
“My glutes are shutting off. Then they don't activate and … it goes into my lower back. So, I tried to activate my glutes as best I could … but they never stayed activated.”
APRIL 7, 2015
Woods makes his return at the Masters.
“I'm feeling older, there's no doubt about that. Try chasing around 6‑ and 7‑year‑olds all day, you start feeling it. But the good news is my soccer game has gotten a lot better.”
JUNE 16, 2015
Woods plays the U.S. Open after shooting a career-worst 85 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. He misses the cut at Chambers Bay after shooting 80-76.
“At Memorial, I made another baseline shift, just like I did pre-Masters. And it's rough going through it. Obviously I've got to do it in front of the world, and sometimes it's tough. I've got to suck it up and do it. The good news is I've done it before in my career, I know what it feels like, I know how tough it is to go through those rounds.”
AUG. 23, 2015
Woods plays the Wyndham Championship in an effort to make the FedExCup Playoffs. He is T2 after three rounds but shoots 70 on Sunday to finish T10. He looks uncomfortable in the final round.
“It’s not my back, no. Just my hip.”
SEPT. 18, 2015
Woods announces that he has had a second back operation.
“This is certainly disappointing, but I’m a fighter. I’ve been told I can make a full recovery, and I have no doubt that I will.”I’m a fighter. I’ve been told I can make a full recovery, and I have no doubt that I will.
DEC. 1, 2015
Woods doesn’t play in the Hero World Challenge but gives a somber pre-tournament news conference.
“There is no timetable. So that's the hardest part. There's really nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build towards. It's just taking it literally just day by day and week by week.”
When asked what physical activity he is able to do, Woods says, “I walk. I walk and I walk some more.”
APRIL 1, 2016
Woods announces he will miss the Masters. He has not played since last year’s Wyndham Championship in August.
“I've been hitting balls and training daily, but I'm not physically ready. I've said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what's best for my long-term health and career. … I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf.”
JUNE 22, 2016
Woods misses the U.S. Open and Quicken Loans National, but delivers a pre-tournament news conference at Congressional.
“I just need to still get in … more golf shape, try to hit more golf balls, things of that nature. So I'm still working on it, I'm still progressing so far and I just wish I could be here and play and be out here and get it going again. (I) just miss playing.”
SEPT. 7, 2016
Woods commits to three events: the Safeway Open, Turkish Open and Hero World Challenge. He still has not played since the Wyndham Championship in August 2015.
“My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do. Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. … It was difficult missing tournaments that are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and didn’t rush it.”
OCT. 10, 2016
On the Monday of tournament week, Woods withdraws from the Safeway Open and declares his game is “vulnerable.”
“After a lot of soul searching, and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA TOUR or compete in Turkey. My health is good and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be. It’s not up to my standards, and I don’t think it would be up to yours.”
NOV. 29, 2016
Woods makes his return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge. In his pre-tournament news conference, he reflects on the previous year’s news conference.
“It was a period of a month or two where … I just couldn't get out of bed. I needed help. It was a tough, tough time. You asked 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 an hour? That's just two different worlds.”It was a period of a month or two where … I just couldn't get out of bed. I needed help. It was a tough, tough time.
Tiger Woods interview after 2016 Hero World Challenge
DEC. 4, 2016
Woods finishes 15th in the Hero World Challenge’s 18-man field, shooting 73-65-70-76. He leads the field in birdies.
“Getting back to this point is beyond anything that I've ever experienced in my lifetime. The pain issues that I had, it was rough. … Quite frankly there were some pretty dire times where I just couldn't move.”
JAN. 27, 2017
Woods misses the cut in his first start of the year, at the Farmers Insurance Open. He flies to Dubai after the event for the Dubai Desert Classic.
“I would have to say that I feel infinitely stronger than I did at the (Hero). That's just that much more time working out and getting ready and having my clubs tuned in better than I did at the Bahamas.”
Tiger Woods' interview after Round 2 of Farmers
FEB. 3, 2017
Woods withdraws before the second round of the Dubai Desert Classic. His agent, Mark Steinberg, addresses the media.
“He says it’s not the nerve pain that’s kept him out for so long. He says it’s a back spasm and he just can’t get the spasm to calm down. He doesn’t have the strongest back in the world so it’s probably easier to spasm because of the issues he’s had.”
FEB. 10, 2017
After withdrawing from Dubai, Woods also has to pull out of the Genesis Open, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, and The Honda Classic near his hometown of Jupiter.
“My doctors have advised me not to play the next two weeks, to continue my treatment and to let my back calm down. This is not what I was hoping for or expecting.”
MARCH 31, 2017
Woods announces that he will miss the Masters. It is the 20th anniversary of his 12-shot win in his first major as a pro.
“I did about everything I could to play, but my back rehabilitation didn’t allow me the time to get tournament ready. I’m especially upset because it’s a special anniversary for me that’s filled with a lot of great memories. … I have no timetable for my return, but I will continue my diligent effort to recover, and want to get back out there as soon as possible.”
APRIL 20, 2017
Woods announces that he has undergone a fourth back operation to “alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg.”
“The surgery went well, and I’m optimistic this will relieve my back spasms and pain. When healed, I look forward to getting back to a normal life, playing with my kids, competing in professional golf and living without the pain I have been battling so long.”
MAY 24, 2017
Woods writes a first-person blog on his website giving an update on Tiger Jam and his recovery.
“It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back, and it is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years. I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked. I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt. I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope.”
SEPT. 22, 2017
Woods posts another blog before appearing at the 2017 Presidents Cup, where he will be a Vice Captain.
“It’s nice not to live in pain anymore. I’m sleeping better because I don’t have any nerve pain going down my leg. It makes a world of difference. I’m starting to hit the ball a little further – 60-yard shots. I have not taken a full swing since my back fusion surgery last April, but continue to chip and putt every day.”
SEPT. 27, 2017
Woods addresses the media during the Vice Captains’ news conference at Liberty National. When asked if he could envision being unable to return to competition, Woods says, “Yeah, definitely.”
“I don't know what my future holds for me.”I don't know what my future holds for me.
NOV. 28, 2017
Two months after his Presidents Cup news conference, he meets with the press at the Hero World Challenge, where he will play for the first time in a year.
“This is very different because last year I was still struggling with a little bit of pain and I was able to hit some good shots, able to play, but in looking back on it now, I look on it as playing in slow-mo. I didn't realize how bad my back had become and how much I was flinching and just how slow I was.”
DEC. 3, 2017
Woods finishes ninth in the Hero after shooting 69-68-75-68.
“I had the adrenaline going and overall I'm very pleased. I knew I was going to be able to play all four rounds. That wasn't going to be an issue. The issue was how was my scoring going to be, how was my feel, how am I going to get used to the adrenaline in my system for the first time in a while. … (It’s) a bright future.”
Tiger Woods comments after Round 4 of Hero World Challenge
JAN. 24, 2018
Woods returns to the PGA TOUR at the Farmers Insurance Open and no longer has winning as the expectation.
“I have no more pain in my back. My back is fused. That wasn't the case last year. I was trying to manage the disk and the vertebrae, but it's all finished now. Now it's fused and quality of life is infinitely better than it was last year at this point. There's no pain, I'm not flinching, it doesn't hurt as I take the club back, it doesn't hurt right before impact, it doesn't hurt after impact, it doesn't hurt when I walk. It was a tough go for a while and I don't have any of those feelings.”I have no more pain in my back. My back is fused.
JAN. 28, 2018
Woods shoots 72-71-70-72 to finish T23 in an impressive return at Torrey Pines.
“Very pleased. I fought hard for these scores. They weren't like drive down the middle, hit it on the green, two putt, one of those yawners. This was a lot of fight. It showed that I had heart. I fought my tail off.”
FEB. 13, 2018
Woods prepares for the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club where he misses the cut after rounds of 72-76.
“I'd eventually like to win tournaments. I'm trying to get … get to that point.”
MARCH 11, 2018
Woods sends the golf world into a frenzy as he contends heavily at the Valspar Championship, finishing T2 after Paul Casey’s final round putting is near flawless to earn the win.
“I was close. I had a chance today. Unfortunately, I just didn't quite feel as sharp as I needed to with my irons, played a little conservative because of it.”
Tiger Woods drains a monster birdie putt on No. 17 at Valspar
Tiger Woods' interview after Round 4 of Valspar
MARCH 18, 2018
For the second time in seven days Woods threatens to return to the winner’s circle, this time in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. His final-round flurry has him within one of the lead before a wild tee shot on the 16th hole goes out of bounds and he settles for T5.
“If you would have asked me at the beginning of the year that I would have had a chance to win two golf tournaments … I would have taken that in a heartbeat.
“(On 16), I bailed out and hit a bad shot and that's on me for not committing.”
Tiger Woods' interview after Round 4 of Arnold Palmer
JUNE 17, 2018
Woods is asked if he still believes he can win again after rounds of 78-72 in the U.S. Open.
“Absolutely. Have you seen the way I've been swinging?”
JULY 1, 2018
Woods finishes fourth at the Quicken Loans National, his third top-5 of the season and first since March.
“I've hit the ball well in this stretch. I just haven't made anything. And finally, … I'm starting to make those putts you're supposed to make from 10, 15 feet, but I'm also making some from outside 20. I haven't done that for the better part of two months.”
JULY 22, 2018
Woods finishes T6 at The Open Championship after taking the lead during the final round. He shoots 37 on the back nine after playing Nos. 11 and 12 in 3 over par. He finishes three behind playing partner Francesco Molinari. Woods’ children greeted him behind the 18th green.
“It’s pretty emotional because they gave me some pretty significant hugs there and squeezed. I know that they know how much this championship means to me and how much it feels good to be back playing again. The only thing they’ve seen is my struggles and the pain I was going through. Now they just want to go play soccer with me. Man, it’s just such a great feeling.”
AUG. 12, 2018
Woods shoots a final-round 64 to finish second at the PGA Championship, two shots behind Brooks Koepka. It is Woods’ lowest final round in a major.
“At the beginning of the year, if you would have said … I would have a legit chance to win the last two major championships, I, with what swing? I didn't have a swing at the time. I had no speed. I didn't have a golf swing. My short game wasn't quite there yet. My putting was okay. But God, I hadn't played in two years. So it's been a hell of a process for sure.”
SEPT. 10, 2018
Woods finishes sixth at the BMW Championship. He shared the first-round lead after shooting 62, then closes with a final-round 65. His good play clinches his first TOUR Championship berth since 2013.
“The game has changed, the body has changed and the body has changed dramatically since I first started. Trying to get used to the equipment and changing equipment because my swing is changing because my body is changing. It's been quite a year.”
SEPT. 19, 2018
Woods addresses the media before playing the TOUR Championship for the first time in five years.
“I've exceeded a lot of my expectations and goals because so much of it was an unknown. … To have come off the last few years of inactivity and to be able to have qualified for East Lake and to be as consistent as I've been and to have put together a game from pretty much nothing, that's something I'm very proud of.”
APRIL 14, 2019
Woods wins the Masters and his fifth green jacket in dramatic fashion. Arguably one of the greatest victories in golf history, Woods earns his 15th major and his 81st PGA TOUR win.
"It's overwhelming, just because of what has transpired," Woods said. "Last year I was lucky to be playing again. At the previous year's dinner, I was really struggling. I missed a couple of years not playing this great tournament. To now be the champion ... 22 years between wins is a long time. It's unreal to experience this."