(Reuters) – Tiger Woods does not know when he will return to the PGA Tour following a February car accident that left him in a wheelchair for two months, but said on Tuesday he would love to compete in the British Open next July at St. Andrews.
Woods, who was close to having his leg amputated after he lost control of his car in Los Angeles, won two of his 15 career major titles at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland and has not ruled out being in the field.
“I would love to play at St. Andrews, there’s no doubt it. It’s my favorite golf course in the world,” Woods said at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas where he is host of this week’s Hero World Challenge.
“Physically, hopefully I can. I’ve got to get there first. Tournament’s not going to go anywhere, but I need to get there.”
Woods walked into the news conference, his first since the car accident, without crutches. During the 40-minute session, he admitted that both his leg and back hurt just sitting there.
Woods, who recently posted https://www.instagram.com/p/CWiyOhVgCC6 a video on social media showing him hitting a golf shot, acknowledged he has a long road ahead in the rehab process, including countless reps, breaking up scar tissue and things he said “really hurt.”
When asked about how he feels with the expectations among his legion of supporters who feel he can still win a major, the 45-year-old Woods said he was flattered that people think that highly of his game.
“For that to happen I have a long way to go,” said Woods. “But I enjoy the challenge of getting in there and trying to push it to the next level. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back but you got to go through it.
“Maybe one day it will be good enough where I can get out here and compete against these best players in the world again.”
Woods collected his most recent major at the 2019 Masters, a remarkable win that followed several surgeries to his back and knee and personal problems that convinced many the best golfer of his generation was done.
Now Woods, who accepted that the “clock’s ticking” on his storied career, said he has “no desire” to resume a full playing schedule but that he would prefer to ramp up his preparations for a few events.
“There’s no reason that I can’t do that and feel ready,” said Woods, who has not played competitive golf since the 2020 Masters last November.
“I may not be tournament sharp in the sense I haven’t played tournaments, but I think if you practice correctly and you do it correctly, that I’ve come off surgeries before, I’ve come off long layoffs and I’ve won or come close to winning before.
“So I know the recipe for it, I’ve just got to get to a point where I feel comfortable enough where I can do that again.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto)