Tiger Woods could play once a month in '24

Encouraging news for Tiger fans. The iconic golfer is back and plans to be even more present in the sporting world starting in 2023

by Andrea Gussoni
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Tiger Woods could play once a month in '24
© Getty Images Sport - Mike Ehrmann / Staff

Encouraging news for Tiger fans. The iconic golfer is back and plans to be even more present in the sporting world starting in 2023. The Hero World Challenge tournament, which takes place from Thursday to Sunday in the Bahamas, will mark the Tiger's final turn after undergo ankle surgery.

The operation is the twelfth in his medical history, which began in 1994 when two benign tumors were removed from his left knee. At this year's Masters, Tiger had to withdraw due to intense pain that was aggravated by the steep slopes of the Augusta National competition course.

Tiger Woods, news

At the time, it was not known that it would be Woods' last appearance in an official tournament. In the two days of the Masters, and in the four rounds of the Genesis Invitational that he sponsors at Riviera, it was his only competitive background all year.

This is much less than the previous year, when he had to recover from the serious traffic accident that almost cost him his right leg. Unfortunately, this event has marked the final course of his PGA career. It is not the image one would have imagined in the early 2000s, when this player was at his peak and seemed unstoppable in his race to surpass Nicklaus' all-time record of 18 major titles.

However, his legacy will always be that of having changed the world of golf forever, both for his indisputable physical and technical talent and for his role as an icon for minorities.
Today, his body bears the marks of numerous injuries that have diminished his performance and his ability to play at the highest level.

It is no longer just that his irons no longer sound as tuned or that he does not achieve the same distances off the tee, but that facing the 18 holes of a golf course has become a real challenge. During the press conference prior to an exhibition with world ranking points in the Bahamas, the protagonist himself spoke about his physical condition and the charitable cause of this event.

The tournament, which brings together the 20 most outstanding players in the top-40, collaborates with his TGR foundation, dedicated to improving the health, education and well-being of disadvantaged children. However, the athlete acknowledged that he was suffering from back and knee discomfort, although he assured that the ankle did not cause him pain.

Regarding whether he could play the 18 holes, he stated that he had some uncertainty. Likewise, he explained how he made the decision to compete in this tournament after caddying with his son. It was at that time that he felt that his level was at the same level as before his operations and contacted the committee to seek an opportunity in the event.

On the other hand, the player has undergone multiple interventions, including a fusion of the joint, which they chose to do instead of replacing the entire ankle, since the latter did not exist in its entirety. Finally, the most complicated process was not the surgery itself, but a prolonged period of six months in absolute rest.

Why return in such a delicate condition? Why subject an already worn-out body to more effort? The motivation is the same as that of Rafa Nadal, with whom he was compared at the press conference: addiction to competition.

"I love competing, playing. I miss being with the other players, the camaraderie. But what drives me to move forward is competing," he said. Furthermore, he has absolute confidence in his abilities, which is not surprising given that he is the player with the most PGA tournament wins, tied with Sam Snead.

"At the moment, I can walk and I know I can win again. When I can't do it anymore, I will retire," he emphasized. El Tigre believes that even in the most optimistic scenario, his career has been affected by a series of injuries and personal problems that have kept him from his splendor.

Despite this, the expected result is better than what could be expected in his current physical state. His schedule would consist of "one tournament a month" in 2024 and would possibly include the Genesis in March and "The Players." Then, as expected, he would concentrate on the big four, with the open possibility of playing in the Nicklaus Memorial or the Arnold Palmer.

However, his schedule will remain reduced, as discussed in previous months, and he considers himself "realistic" given his current status. Although it may seem like a challenging amount, even a monthly dose of this golfer is enough to please fans of the sport.

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