‘Man, I’ve missed it’ – Tiger speaks ahead of the Hero World Challenge
Missed the Tiger Woods press conference ahead of his latest comeback at the Hero World Challenge? Watch the full video here:
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 28, 2017
Don’t want to sit through all 28-and-a-half minutes? Here are the best bits…
Reporter: You take a guy like Reed or JT or Berger, these guys have never played or known you other than a guy dealing with injury. What’s that got to be like for them do you think?
Tiger Woods: In an ideal world, I would like to have them feel what some of my past guys had to go against all those years. I’d like to have them feel that same play.
Reporter: You talk about being a YouTube legend for the kids. Aren’t you also a YouTube legend for a handful of guys in the field?
Tiger Woods: When I turned pro, I think Jordan was still in diapers, right?
Reporter: We left here a year ago on Sunday and everyone held a good bit of optimism as I think you would have, too. A year has passed, is there something in your heart that tells you this time around it’s different?
Tiger Woods: 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 but it was as hard as I could hit it. I didn’t realise how bad my back had become and how much I was flinching and just how slow I was. I didn’t realise it because it’s been a slow degrading process. I thought I had some speed, thought I was playing halfway decent, shot some good scores, but now I’ve looked back on it and man, I didn’t even have much at all.
Now to come out here and be able to do what I’ve been doing the last few weeks with the guys, it’s been a lot of fun. I played some great rounds with the guys at home. They’ve been fantastic, to be honest with you, because I’ve gotten to know a lot of them through the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cups and I’ve really become very close with a few of them. I played golf with Rory. I played golf with Berger, JT, Rickie, Dustin, and it was fun. It was fun to be able to do that again, which I hadn’t done in years.
Reporter: Given all you’ve gone through health wise, would it be a fair assumption that this last surgery was more about quality of life than golf? If that’s the case, do you see the golf you’re playing now and for however long you play bonus time?
Tiger Woods: You could look at it like that. As I was telling a lot of my friends at home, I miss playing golf for fun. Go out there and hit and giggle and play for some denominations and have a good time. I hadn’t done that in two years. I play nine holes here and 18 holes here, and then I have to take three days off because my back was killing me. I hadn’t been able to play fun golf like that with my friends in such a long time, forget being competitive.
But this surgery was, as you said, about quality of life because I didn’t really have much. I’ve been in bed for about two years and hadn’t been able to do much. People ask me, why don’t you go out to dinner? I can’t, I can’t sit. So to be able to have the ability to go out and do things like that, and on top of that to be able to participate in my kids’ sports again. As you know, I love sports, I like playing sports and I grew up doing it, so to be able to play with them again. Man, I’ve missed it.
Reporter: As far as the golf side, to what extent do you think you need to reinvent the way that you play and the way that you prepare for the body you have now?
Tiger Woods: For the body I have now, I don’t know. I’m winging this by ear because I don’t know what my body can and can’t do yet. I just got the go-ahead a little over a month ago, but I still don’t know. I was saying to you guys, I don’t have any pain anymore in my back. I have some stiffness, like no duh, it’s fused. So I’m learning that, what my body can’t do yet and what it can do.
Reporter: What about the future scares you? Looking forward, is there anything about this as you look forward to your career going, if something happens now?
Tiger Woods: I was talking to my surgeon about this is that I felt how long will this fused back hold up? It’s like my micro-discectomies, how long is that going to hold up? He says, ‘You’ll be fine for the rest of your life because it’s bone and bone, you’re fine.’
How hard is it to break a leg? It’s not easy break a leg. Same thing, it’s not easy to break that part of your back. I’m still trying to sink in that I can start doing things like that, start being more athletic but there’s still some apprehension going forward and there’s no doubt this week is a big step for me to be able to play golf and be explosive and hit shots.
Reporter: In July you announced on your blog that you had gone through a program that helped you manage your medications, your back pain, and the sleeping disorder. How difficult was that program and how has it been since then in going forward?
Tiger Woods: Well, I’ve come out the other side and I feel fantastic. A lot of friends have helped me. As I alluded to, I didn’t realise how bad my back was. Now that I’m feeling the way I’m feeling, it’s just hard to imagine that I was living the way I was living with my foot not working, my leg not working, and then the hours of not being able to sleep at all because of the pain.
When is Tiger Woods teeing off at the Hero World Challenge? Tee times and all the other relevant information can be found here.