Woods says he thought he was 'done' when at Augusta in 2017
April 11, 2019
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
- Tiger Woods is presented with the Ben Hogan Award by Bob Harig of ESPN. (David Cannon/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Two years ago, Tiger Woods needed a pain-relieving injection just to attend the Champions Dinner. He left Augusta National that evening in search of relief for the back pain that had left him bed-ridden.
Now Woods is back among the top players in the game, an achievement for which he was recognized on the eve of the 2019 Masters.
Woods accepted the Golf Writers Association of America’s Ben Hogan Award on Wednesday at the organization’s annual dinner. The honor is given to players who has continued to be active in golf despite a physical handicap or serious illness.
In his acceptance speech Woods said he was “done” when he arrived at Augusta National in 2017, confirming a story Nick Faldo shared last year on the Dan Patrick Show.
“I know he whispered to another Masters champion two Masters dinners ago, ‘I’m done. I won’t play golf again,’ and here we are, 18 months later,” Faldo said after Woods’ runner-up finish at the PGA Championship.
Woods revealed Wednesday that he left that Champions Dinner and flew to England, where he had a consultation with a back specialist. That’s where he was told fusion surgery was necessary.
“Golf was not in my near future or in the distant future,” Woods said in his speech. “I knew I was going to be part of the game, but playing the game, I couldn’t even do that with my son Charlie. I couldn’t putt in the backyard.”
After the surgery, Woods “was able to start to walk again. I was able to participate in life, to be able to be around my kids again, to go to their games, go to their practices, take them to school again. These are all things I couldn’t do for a very long time.”
He was able to make full swings a few months after the 2017 Presidents Cup. He said his first swing with a driver “carried maybe 90 yards.”
“I was a little apprehensive about going after a driver,” Woods said Wednesday. “I didn’t want to actually go back into that situation I was experiencing for a couple years there.”
Woods, who earned his 80th PGA TOUR victory at last year’s TOUR Championship, joins Dwight Eisenhower, Lee Trevino, Ken Venturi, Jose Maria Olazabal, Tom Watson and Jarrod Lyle as past winners of the Hogan Award. It has been handed out since 1954.
“It meant a lot to me to receive this award after its namesake,” Woods said. “What Mr. Hogan went through and what he did and what he was able to accomplish post-(accident), just to have my name on a list of recipients like this, is very special.”