Los Angeles: Tiger Woods described his rehabilitation from injuries sustained in a February car crash as the most “painful” experience of his career and declined to comment on his possible return to the sport, Golf Digest reported Thursday.
In a brief interview on the magazine’s website, Woods said he is targeting being able to walk on his own as he recovers from multiple fractures in his right leg suffered in the crash in California three months ago.
The former world number one and 15-time major winner is no stranger to rehab, having undergone multiple surgeries on his back and knee over the years in order to extend his career.
However the 45-year-old told Golf Digest that his previous stints in recovery paled in comparison to his present situation.
“This has been an entirely different animal,” Woods told Golf Digest. “I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced.”
The report said it was unclear whether Woods would require additional procedures or whether he would be able to regain full strength and mobility in his leg.
The magazine said Woods declined to comment when asked about his hopes of playing golf again, responding that his immediate priority focused on walking unassisted.
“My physical therapy has been keeping me busy,” Woods was quoted as saying. “I do my routines every day and am focused on my No. 1 goal right now: walking on my own. Taking it one step at a time.”
A photo of Woods posted on Instagram this week showed the golfer on crutches with a supportive stocking covering his right leg, no longer wearing a protective boot he had used earlier this year.
Woods meanwhile said he was grateful for the support he had received from around the world during his recovery.
“It’s been incredible,” Woods said. “I have had so much support from people both inside and outside of golf which means so much to me and has helped tremendously.”
Woods was in the process of recovering from a surgical procedure on his back at the time of his crash in February.
Police found Woods was driving nearly twice the legal speed limit when his SUV went out of control and rolled several times before stopping.
Woods was hospitalised for weeks before returning home to Florida in March.
He underwent hours of surgery to repair a shattered lower right leg and ankle, including the insertion of a rod into his tibia and screws and pins being used to stabilize his ankle.
Woods had undergone a series of back operations before making a fairytale comeback that saw him win the 2019 Masters for his first major title since the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.