Golf: I'll never feel great again, admits Woods

Tiger Woods, a 14-time Major winner, returned from a 16-month injury layoff in December and has slumped to 674 in the world rankings.
Tiger Woods, a 14-time Major winner, returned from a 16-month injury layoff in December and has slumped to 674 in the world rankings.PHOTO: AFP

Former No. 1 golfer, whose body is racked by surgeries, still dreams of winning 5th Masters

DUBAI • Tiger Woods has said that he does not think he "will ever feel great again", following the heavy toll of multiple operations on his battered body.

But golf's former world No. 1 said in an interview with Dubai magazine Vision that he hoped he would be able to compete for titles and Majors in the future.

"There have been plenty of times when I thought I would never play the game again at the elite level," said the 41-year-old.

"It was tough, it was more than brutal. There were times I needed help just to get out of bed.

"I feel good, but not great.

"Granted, I don't think I'll ever feel great again because it's three back surgeries, four knee operations."

The 14-time Major winner returned from a 16-month injury layoff in December and has slumped to 674 in the world rankings.

"I am always going to be a little bit sore, it's just the way it is," the American added.

"But as long as I can function and function at a good enough level then I'm fine with that."

Woods made an ill-fated attempt to play in the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic last week, pulling out with back spasms after a birdie-less first-round 77 left him 13 shots off the lead.

He had missed the cut a week earlier at his first US PGA Tour event of the year at Torrey Pines.

He is also entered for next week's tournament at Riviera as he tries to recover form and fitness before a tilt at the season's first Major - the Masters in Augusta in early April.

"The whole plan was to get my body, mind and spirit ready for that first full week in April," Woods said.

"You know, I've done it (won at Augusta) four times and I'd love to do it a fifth."

Woods, who has not won since 2013 and whose last Major victory came in 2008, added that golf was becoming a different game with the power of the "kids" - such as compatriot Jordan Spieth, Australia's Jason Day and Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy - dominating the world rankings.

"This is the changing of the guard. All these guys can move it," he said. "It wasn't important to hit the ball hard, it was more important to hit the ball flush, but now these kids tee it up and just go after it."

But Woods still believes he can win again.

"My generation is getting older, but if I'm teeing up the goal is to win it," he said.

"That doesn't change if I'm injured, coming off an injury, playing well or I'm playing poorly.

"If I'm in the event, it's to win the event."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'I'll never feel great again, admits Woods'. Print Edition | Subscribe