Tiger Woods is a glutton for punishment, but nothing was going to stop him from competing alongside his thirteen-year-old son Charlie at this weekend’s PNC Championship – even if it does mean jeopardising his recovery from plantar fasciitis on top of his leg injury from a serious car accident in February of last year.
Woods only made three competitive appearances this year in the Masters, US PGA Championship and Open Championship – withdrawing from the PGA. Although he did make his fourth televised appearance at The Match where he and Rory McIlroy were beaten by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
The fifteen-time major champion was pencilled in to compete at his own Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas but had to withdraw pre-tournament due to plantar fasciitis in his foot – a condition which causes a scar pain near the heel. But this week he will ignore doctors orders and tee it up alongside Charlie – who also has a limp – for the two-day exhibition in a cart like he did twelve months ago.
“I don’t really care about that. I think being there with and alongside my son is far more important, and get to have a chance to have this experience with him is far better than my foot being a little creaky.
“I can practice. I just can’t walk. So when you’re dealing with the plantar like this, it’s one of these things where I need rest, and I haven’t exactly been doing that.
“Last year at this time my leg was broken and I was still playing, but now that’s healed up and now I got this plantar thing that’s going on. So pick your poison.
“As you’ve seen, I can hit golf balls. I can do all that. I can practice at home. I can hit shots around the green. I can do all that. I just can’t get from point A to point B.”
Woods cut an emotional figure at the 150th Open Championship when he walked over the Swilcan Bridge for what was widely considered to be the final time ever, not just at the Open as rumours of retirement began to circle around the old town of St Andrews, but Tiger admitted he actually teed it up competitively more often than he had anticipated – even if it was only three times.
“I played more this year than I certainly thought at the beginning of the year. I was just hoping, as I said to you guys earlier, just to play the British Open at St Andrews. But I got the chance to play in three major championships. So that’s far, far more than what I had expected going into the year. So it’s been a positive.”
As for what 2023 brings, the former world number one has put any scheduling plans on the back shelf for now because he knows any further damage he does to his heel and/or his leg this week will have to be addressed over the Christmas and New Year.
“No, not yet. Because if I didn’t have the plantar feeling like this, then, yes, I could tell you that and I’d have a better idea. But I’m supposed to be resting this thing and stretching and letting it heal. But I’m not doing that at the moment.
“Well, it’s been a lot harder than people probably imagine. There’s some of the players who are very close to me know what I’ve kind of gone through, and they’re the ones that keep encouraging me to back off a little bit. But that’s not really in my nature. My nature is trying to get better. And I have. And through work ethic, I was able to, as I said, play and compete in three major championships this year.
“And this off season hasn’t really been an off season. I’ve kind of ramped things up. But after this, come Monday, we shut it all down and take care of this foot so that I can ramp up properly.
“I’m doing everything. I’m doing everything. It’s frustrating because each and every day I have to do it, and then on top of that it’s trying to sleep in the damn boot, it’s no fun. My left leg is bleeding sometimes because the boot hits it. It’s just annoying. It’s one of those things that, hey, I’m grateful to have this limb and it’s mine. It’s not some fake limb. It’s mine. And, yes, there are some issues with it, but I still have it.”