Tiger Woods has learned his lessons well.
He may no longer be using a walking boot or crutches but he has not hit a full golf shot in the past 47 days. He does not even have an idea when he will be back in the field for practice or when he will join another tournament. That is, until he is certain about his health.
“Usually I set a timetable when I want to come back and play when I’ve had injuries before,” Woods said at the AT&T National, which benefits his foundation. “This one is different. I’m going to learn my lesson from what I did at The Players and apply it this time and come back when I’m 100 percent. I don’t know when that’s going to be.
“That’s kind of the frustrating thing about it right now is I don’t know.”
Wood’s statement sounded like he would miss another major championship although he did not rule out participation in the July 14 British Open.
“I wouldn’t go over there just to show up,” he said. “I’d go over there to win the golf tournament, so I need to obviously get my body ready so I can practice, and eventually play.”
Woods, who was able to watch the U.S. Open, was amazed at the six-shot lead by Rory Mcllroy after 36 holes, which matched his record. More amazing though was how Mcllroy won by eight shots.
He said he has watched more cartoons now while sharing the parenting of his kids, compared to when he was a child.
“What’s actually really tough to watch now all the time is ‘Dora.’ That song is just brutal,” he said.
Woods was also sporting a full beard in public, which was a first time for him.
He withdrew from the Players Championship on May 12, after nine holes, and has not played since then. This was his first tournament since an awkward stance in the pine straw the Masters during the third round resulted to “minor injuries” to his Achilles and left knee.
Woods now regrets his decision to play at the TPC Sawgrass because had he skipped The Players, he would be playing now.
“I’ve played in pain before and I’ve played injured, and I’ve played through it, and I’ve been very successful at it,” Woods said. “There has been a number of years where I’ve been hurt more than people could possibly understand, and I’ve played and I’ve won. I just felt that it was good enough to give it a go, and I did. And I hurt myself.”
Since his freshman year at Stanford, he already had four knee surgeries. In the summer of 2007, he tore his knee ligaments while jogging but won five of six tournaments including a major, during the year. He had one good leg when he won his 14th major at the 2008 U.S. Open. He also won seven times the season after his right Achilles was injured in December 2008.
But this time, Woods has stopped being stubborn even if this injury was not as bad as the previous ones.
“But I hurt myself again,” he said. “It’s time to actually have a different approach. It’s time.”
Woods, who remains stuck on number 14, is still in pursuit of the 18 professional majors record held by Jack Nicklaus. And unless he plays, he cannot get closer.
“He won when he was 46, right?” said the 35-year-old Woods. “I’ve still got some time. I feel pretty confident of what my future holds and very excited about it. I’m excited about coming out here and being ready to go, instead of trying to kind of patch it, which I’ve been doing for awhile.”
Being able to putt is enough for Woods right now. He said he does not only work on his Achilles and left knee but also goes to the gym every day for up to three sessions, to keep his entire body stronger.
“We’re testing it every day to see what it feels like,” he said. “You try and push it as far as the leg will go, and then if it doesn’t feel any good, then you bring it back. And each day it’s gotten better. We haven’t had any setbacks, which has been good. But still, it’s not as explosive or as strong as I’d like to be.”