LOS ANGELES, Nov 22 — Golf icon Tiger Woods posted video of himself hitting balls on Sunday, delivering an upbeat update on his recovery from serious leg injuries suffered in a February car crash.
“Making progress,” Woods said in the caption to the video.
The 45-year-old looks at ease, wearing shorts with a compression stocking on his right leg, which was shattered when the 15-time major champion crashed his SUV in a Los Angeles suburb in February.
The injuries to his lower leg and foot raised fears for the future of Woods’s astonishing career.
His friend and fellow US PGA Tour pro Justin Thomas said in a podcast recently that Woods was “going to try” to make a comeback.
“I know that he’s going to try,” Thomas said on the No Laying Up podcast. “I don’t see him ever playing if he can’t play well. He doesn’t strike me as a guy who’s played at home and he’s shooting a bunch of 75s and 76s and he’s like, ‘OK, I’m gonna give Augusta a try this year’.
“That’s not really gonna be him, at least from my understanding, what I know of him.”
Woods has returned from career-threatening injuries before. He had spinal fusion surgery in 2017 and after returning to competition in 2018 won his fifth Masters title, and 15th major crown, at the 2019 Masters.
That sensational triumph at Augusta National was Woods’s first major since the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines, where Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff despite playing on a broken leg.
He has undergone multiple surgeries on his back and knee over the years in order to extend his career and was recovering from another procedure on his back when he crashed this year.
Woods had indicated in an Instagram post in April that his recovery was progressing slowly.
In May he told Golf Digest that his current injury rehabilitation “has been an entirely different animal” than previous recoveries.
“This was more painful than anything I have ever experienced,” he told the magazine, although there were signs of progress that month when a Florida girl posted a picture of herself and the superstar after meeting him in a soccer park, the photo showing Woods on crutches but without a protective walking boot.
Although he has kept a kept a low profile while focusing on his recovery, the player who has inspired a generation of pro golfers and driven the popularity of the game worldwide has kept his eye on the sport.
He was quick to congratulate Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama on his historic triumph at Augusta National via social media, noting Matsuyama’s “huge accomplishment for you and your country. This historical @TheMasters win will impact the entire golf world.”
Woods’s long-distance messages also inspired the US team that throttled Europe in the Ryder Cup in September.
“We knew he was fist pumping from the couch,” American Xander Schauffele said. — AFP