Tiger Woods explains what his PGA Tour return might look like

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A return to PGA Tour competition for Tiger Woods is "realistic," he says, though he has a long road ahead.

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In the week since Tiger Woods posted a video to his social media feeds of him hitting a full-swing wedge shot, the entire golf world has had to wonder what it could mean for his prospects as a competitor. At least one optimistic bettor even placed a wager on Woods to win the 2022 Masters. 

Well, we didn’t have to wait long for more details from the man himself. Woods spoke about his recent travails with Golf Digest in an interview published Monday. The long and short of it is that after slowly recovering from his February car accident, Woods believes he could potentially compete in a few PGA Tour events a year. But playing the Tour on a full-time basis, like the 18 events he played in 2018, is not realistic. 

“I have so far to go … I’m not even at the halfway point,” Woods said. “I have so much more muscle development and nerve development that I have to do in my leg. At the same time, I’ve had five back operations, so I’m having to deal with that.”

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So, what is realistic? That was a natural next question for GolfTV’s Henni Koyack, the interviewer.

“I think something that is realistic is playing the Tour one day — never full time, ever again — but pick and choose, just like Mr. [Ben] Hogan did,” Woods said. “Pick and choose a few events a year and you play around that. You practice around that, and you gear yourself up for that. I think that’s how I’m going to have to play it from now on. It’s an unfortunate reality, but it’s my reality. And I understand it, and I accept it. I just hope I can have it time up at the right tournament.”

Woods stopped short of saying when exactly he thinks he could play on the PGA Tour again, but for Tiger fans, it was plenty of information they’ve been desperate to hear. It is plausible that Woods will play on the PGA Tour again — and he sounds optimistic! — something that seemed far-fetched nine months ago while Woods underwent hours and hours of surgery to fix injuries sustained in his accident

Despite the long road ahead, Woods appeared content throughout the interview. He said his current health status has kept him from feeling frustrated watching his buddies play on the PGA Tour, because he knows he’s not that close to doing any competing himself. 

“Little small goals lead up to bigger goals,” Woods said. “That’s something I learned from Dad. I applied it and it works.” 

Woods admitted that those little small goals have been a lot of chipping and putting with his son, Charlie, but noted that it’s not possible for him to grind in practice like he has in the past. He still has his hands, as Woods put it, meaning he still has feel and touch, but there’s plenty more work to be done.

“I’ve made a lot of improvement over the past couple months,” Woods said. “I still have all the shots around the greens as I used to, but I’m not putting in the hours … Instead of being 2-3 feet away, I’m 10-12 feet away. That’s where the Tour level gets separated. That’s gonna take a long time to get back.” 

Sean Zak

Golf.com Editor

Zak is a writer at GOLF Magazine and just finished a book about the summer he spent in St. Andrews.