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Tiger Woods announces his return to golf

By Sarah May
|
February 11, 2023

In an announcement sure to excite the world of golf, PGA legend Tiger Woods revealed Friday that he is set to continue his career comeback by teeing off at next week's Genesis Invitational, as Fox News reports.

The news came via social media when Woods tweeted, “I'm ready to play an ACTUAL PGA Tour event next week @thegenesisinv.”

Highly anticipated return

According to ESPN.com, Woods' first appearance in a PGA event this year will take place at the Riviera Country Club outside of Los Angeles, and the event itself benefits his own TGR Foundation.

The 47-year-old, 15-time major champion has had something of a slow return to the sport following a serious car accident in February 2021, which left him with substantial injuries and resulted in a lengthy recovery process.

In 2022, Woods managed to take part in a total of nine rounds in three major tournaments but did not notch any notable successes beyond simply being healthy enough to play, coming in 47th at the Masters, withdrawing from the PGA Championship following the tournament's third round, and failing to make the cut at the British Open.

A bout with plantar fasciitis in one of his feet also forced Woods' withdrawal from the Hero World Challenge back in December, bringing an end to what was likely a somewhat disappointing year.

Long road back

In an ironic twist, the Genesis Invitational at which Woods will begin his PGA year is the same tournament in which he was participating when the horrific car crash occurred and nearly ended not just his career, but also his life.

As Sports Illustrated explained, on that fateful February day, Woods was driving along a winding road just after 7:00 a.m., when he lost control of his SUV while moving at a high rate of speed.

A curve in the road proved impossible for Woods to negotiate under the circumstances, and he crashed through a median, hit a curb, crossed over into opposite lanes of traffic, smashed into a tree, and rolled the vehicle over.

Among the shocking injuries Woods sustained in the wreck were multiple open fractures of his right leg as well as additional damage to the foot and ankle, traumas that only added to the years of strain on his body stemming from ongoing back trouble for which he had undergone a series of surgeries and persistent issues with one knee.

“Lucky to be alive”

One year after the accident, Woods opened up about the severity of what he experienced, saying that it had been “50-50” as to whether he would need at least a partial amputation.

“I'm lucky to be alive and also have a limb,” he said, adding that his months of convalescence took a profound toll on his mental and physical condition, noting, “...it's hard to explain how difficult it is. Being immobile for three months. Just to lay there.”

Woods' recovery has clearly been a work in progress, and as recently as December, he remarked on just how challenging the last two years have been.

“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,” Woods said.

Hard-earned perspective

Among those thrilled by the news of the golf legend's upcoming appearance at the Genesis Invitational is PGA star Justin Thomas, who teamed up late last year with Jordan Spieth to battle Woods and Rory McIlroy in The Match, as ESPN.com noted.

“It's great,” Thomas said of Woods' announcement. “Any time he is on the property, let alone playing, is great for the event.”

Woods, no doubt, is also relishing the opportunity to return to the PGA scene and perhaps planning to participate in more events alongside son Charlie, who is rapidly making a name for himself on the tour.

The duo's 2022 experience together at the PNC Championship did not ultimately end in victory, but Tiger Woods' take on the tournament offered some insight into where his priorities currently lie. “We have fun out there,” he said, adding, “at the end of the day that's what it's all about. It's about us having an opportunity to bond.”