Tiger Woods met with the media Wednesday ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open and gave a realistic approach to his PGA Tour return. You can view his full press conference here.
Below, we trimmed it down. Here are the five most interesting quotes from Woods’ Wednesday presser:
On his expectations: “I think yeah, my expectations have tempered a little bit because I haven’t played. When I came back off my ACL injury in ’08 and started playing in ’09, it was nine months but I hadn’t played a full schedule prior to that. Here, I haven’t played a full schedule since 2015. It’s been a long time. To be honest with you, I just want to start playing on the Tour and getting into a rhythm of playing a schedule again. I haven’t done that in such a long time, so I don’t know what to expect. Just go out there and just play, I’m going to grind it, give it everything I possibly have if I put the ball in the right position and make some putts and try to work my way up the board.”
On how desperate his back woes were: “You know, I tried all different types of treatment on it and we went – I went through every single procedure that is nonsurgical prior to getting it fused. I exhausted every single procedure I could possibly do and it just didn’t get better. So the surgery and fusion was the only step I had left. I was very lucky because it’s down at L5-S1 and it only has maybe six degrees of rotation, so it’s really not much at all so I got lucky in that regard. It’s been tough. I didn’t know when the back was going to go out. I don’t know if you guys were watching this past week with Freddie, how bad it was. He was fine and all of a sudden he makes a couple bad swings and there it goes. That’s very similar to how I was.”
On getting his speed back: “I hadn’t felt good in four, five years. My surgeon, you know, he said from the get-go, once it’s fused, you’ll have – you’ll have speed like you did back in your early 30s. And he’s right because there’s no pain, I’m not flinching, it doesn’t hurt as I take the club back, it doesn’t hurt right before impact, it doesn’t hurt after impact, it doesn’t hurt when I walk. It was a tough go for a while and I don’t have any of those feelings.”
On why he’s going without a coach (for now): “I’ve said it many times already, it’s just that no one’s had a spinal fusion at that level and be able to hit the ball that hard, as hard as I do. So I’d like to meet somebody who can swing it over 120 miles an hour with a fused back. Do you know anybody? That’s what I mean, no one understands that. So I have to rely own my own feels and play around with what my body can and cannot do. It’s not going to look like it used to, I don’t have the mobility that I do – that I used to and that’s just the reality. Now it’s just a matter of what can I do, and that’s just practicing and getting my feels and trusting, experimenting a lot to try and figure out what can this body do and how explosive can it be and how am I going to control shots with different shapes, am I going to have different feels. Some of that stuff is yes, some of that stuff is different and I’m still learning it.”
On his plan early in the year: “I’m just trying to build towards April. That’s what I told you guys last year in the Bahamas, I’m looking forward to playing a full schedule and getting ready for the Masters and I haven’t done that in a very long time. That’s usually been my schedule and my outlook. From ’96 on it’s been that way to try to get ready for Augusta and there’s no reason to change that.”