After Tiger Woods’ Masters exit, pro shares scary detail about Woods’ struggles
AUGUSTA, Ga. — After posting a one-under 69 to make the cut by two at the 2022 PGA Championship, Tiger Woods, who had been noticeably laboring in cool, windy conditions at Southern Hills, was asked if he was feeling more pain in his balky right leg than he had experienced in the opening round.
“Yep,” Woods said in his typical curt style.
“On a scale of 1 to 10 …” a reporter began.
“All that,” Woods said.
A day later, in the third round, it showed — not just in Woods’ body but on his scorecard. Woods shot a nine-over 79, his worst score ever in the PGA, and plummeted from contention. “I’m sore,” he said afterward. “I know that is for a fact. We’ll do some work and see how it goes.”
It did not go well.
Later that day, Woods withdrew. The severity of his condition was unknown, but at the Masters on Sunday, Jason Day shared more detail about the dire nature of Woods’ physical state that week.
“I was talking to [Woods] at the end of last year,” Day said between his third and fourth rounds, “and then he was saying the reason why he pulled out of the PGA was a screw went through the skin on Saturday or whatever it was. I don’t know how bad it is this time.”
This time — i.e., this week at Augusta National — wasn’t especially encouraging, either. Woods, who among his many maladies has been battling plantar fasciitis in his right foot, opened with a two-over 72. On Friday, he didn’t finish his second round on account of a weather suspension. Woods resumed that round Saturday morning in raw, wet and windy conditions, and though he managed to sign for a 73, at times he was limping so badly he looked as if he was walking barefoot on broken glass.
The hilly Augusta National layout is a tough walk for Woods in the best of conditions. Add heavy rain and temperatures barely reaching 50 degrees, and the 3.7-mile hike that ascends the equivalent of 50 stories becomes all but impossible. Indeed, at some point between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, Woods decided he could bear no more. At 7:27 a.m. Sunday, the tournament announced that Woods had withdrawn.
“He looked like he was laboring pretty hard yesterday,” Day said on Sunday morning. “It was obviously difficult to watch because he had to come back out and then play through all that yesterday morning, and then he had to take a little bit of a break and come back out and play again.
“It wasn’t the perfect conditions for him to be able to at least get through the round. It’s disappointing, but that’s just kind of, I think, where we’re at with how his body is right now. … You can all see how he’s feeling on TV. I don’t know what he’s feeling internally, how bad it is.”
Woods didn’t say, offering only a short statement about his withdrawal on social media: “I am disappointed to have to WD this morning due to reaggravating my plantar fasciitis. Thank you to the fans and to @TheMasters who have shown me so much love and support. Good luck to the players today!”
In his February 2021 car accident, Woods sustained “open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula,” according to one of the doctors who treated him. To help stabilize Woods’ right foot and ankle bones, surgeons inserted in them a series of screws and pins.
Earlier this week, Woods said that his mobility is “not where I would like it. But as I sit here, I’m very lucky to have this leg; it’s mine. Yes, it has been altered and there’s some hardware in there, but it’s still mine. It is tough and will always be tough. The ability and endurance of what my leg will do going forward will never be the same. I understand that.
“That’s why I can’t prepare and play as many tournaments as I like, but that’s my future and that’s OK. I’m OK with that.”
Asked how much hardware is in his leg, Woods said, “A lot.”