A stronger Tiger Woods ready to contend at PGA Championship
May 17, 2022
By Ben Everill , PGATOUR.COM
Tiger Woods on his recovery process after the Masters
TULSA, Okla. – Just one day off.
Despite the pain coursing through his body after his return to major championship golf at the Masters last month, Tiger Woods allowed himself just one day off as he continued his quest to add further extraordinary feats to his storied golf career.
Woods – who stunned the world just by teeing it up at Augusta National in the aftermath of his horrific car accident a year earlier that almost cost him his leg – defiantly stood in front of the press ahead of this week’s PGA Championship and declared he can claim what would be an 83rd PGA TOUR win, a 16th major championship title and a fifth PGA Championship.
“I feel like I can, definitely. I just have to go out there and do it. I have to do my work,” Woods said on the concept of winning at Southern Hills this week, much like he did at the venue in 2007 for the last of his four PGA Championship wins.
“(My body) is better than the last time I played a tournament, which is good. We've been working hard and I have days where it's tough and other days where we can push through it.
But we keep working at it.”
That last time was April’s Masters where Woods opened with a 1-under 71 before fatigue set in closing with rounds of 74-78-78 and a 47th place finish. Given the multiple leg fractures suffered in the accident and five previous back surgeries, just playing was an accomplishment, let alone getting through to the weekend. Even Woods briefly admitted as such. But then he switched back into the competitive animal that still craves more.
“Monday… that was it. That was (my day off). Monday, it was not fun. It hurt. Ice baths and just trying to get the swelling out of there… Then we went back at it, leg day on Tuesday and we kept going from there. I said, “let's go”. Figured the first mountain you climbed was Everest. That's the steepest golf course you're going to play and you climbed it... It's going to get flatter and better.
“But I still have tough days, and things aren't going to be as easy as people might think. I feel like I'm doing better. I'm having more days in which are better, more positive. Able to practice a little bit longer.”
It is the work Woods is putting in that help garner his confidence in Tulsa this week. While he spent the weekend at Augusta National rotating from ice baths to physiotherapy and other recovery activities through all hours of the night, the now 46-year-old remained frustrated with the stamina of his body. He lay the blame firmly on himself. And it is why he allowed just that one day of respite.
“The thing that I was frustrated with is it deteriorated as the week went on. I got more and more tired and more fatigued. I didn't have the endurance that I wanted,” Woods explained. “I mean, I shouldn't expect it because I didn't earn it. I hadn't done the work.”
But the last six weeks has seen Woods look to ‘earn’ it once more. He knows Southern Hills will bring its physical challenges but is ready for the fight. He will turn it into a battle of the mind, much like he did at the 2008 U.S. Open when winning on a broken leg.
“We were able to put in a little bit more work and it's going to get better as time goes on. As the months pass and it's going to get better,” Woods adds of his preparation. “My team did just an amazing job just to get me to a point where I could play the Masters. I've gotten stronger since then.
“It's still going to be sore and walking is a challenge. I can hit golf balls… but there's a lot of hardware in there and there's going to be limitations to what I'm going to be able to do, but I'm going to get stronger… it's going to be that way for the foreseeable future.
“I've had to alter my golf swing and practice sessions here and there, and I've had to do a lot of shadow swinging in front of mirrors because I'm just not able to handle impact, but I've gotten better and stronger since then, and will continue to improve.”