Tiger Woods was in a reflective mood when asked about his thoughts on 2022.
He didn’t have much to go on having played just three competitive tournaments, but he did earmark the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews as a reward for attempting to recover from last year’s car accident, believing it may be his last jaunt at the Claret Jug at the Old Course.
Woods’ last competitive appearance came in July at The Home of Golf where he missed the cut by a distance. Tears rolled down his face as he limped over the Swilcan Bridge to a standing ovation and a chorus of cheers with Rory McIlroy stopping to clap from the adjacent first fairway.
“Well, it was a tough year but also one of the more rewarding years I’ve had in a while. I’ve had a lot of setbacks over the last few years, as I was alluding to this summer, I don’t know if I’ll ever get back to playing St Andrews in a British Open, but to be able to experience that maybe one last time at this level was very special to me.
“That was my favourite golf course in the whole world, and if that was it, that was it, to be able to possibly finish up my career there, I don’t know. That’s one of the reasons why I was kind of emotional because I don’t know if I’ll ever play St Andrews again. I’ll play Open Championships in the future but I don’t know if I’ll be around when it comes back there again.”
Tiger completed arguably the greatest comeback in sport when he recovered from spinal fusion surgery to win the 2019 Masters and he showed glimpses at Augusta this year that when fully healthy he can compete for the big prizes again. The question on everyone’s minds is, when?
It’s an answer he can’t give at present, but he admitted he has come a long way from potential leg amputation in February 2021.
“The first year, I had back surgery and last year I played with a broken leg. So this year, nothing was broken, but it was good that all the pieces are there again all lined up.
“Just, again, the plantar fascitis is no fun, and now I get to truly recover and heal and progress forward on this because there’s so many good things that I’ve been able to do physically, be able to hit the golf ball and practice and do everything in a standstill, but I haven’t been able to get from point A to point B, and we’re obviously going to work on this.”