Sport - Golf - Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods at the Hero World Challenge press conference alongside Pawan Munjal, Chairman and CEO of Hero MotoCorp Image Credit: PGA Tour

Albany, Bahams:

Tiger Woods reckons he pushed himself so hard to get back into competitive shape that he has simply pushed himself out of the Hero World Challenge he hosts this week in the Bahamas.

The 46-year-old, a two-time Dubai Desert Classic champion, was all set to take part in the championship featuring 20 of the top players in the world but pulled out on Monday because of Plantar Fasciitis in his right foot.

“It’s a circle with me right now. As I was ramping up and had to walk more, the worse it got. When you get Plantar Fasciitis, the worst thing you can do is walk, and I was walking more and more, trying to get my legs ready for this event. I just kept making it worse. I had to shut it down and unfortunately, I will just be the host of the event and Ranger Rick out here,” said the 15-time major champion.

“It’s going to take probably a month or two of rest. But also, it was the ramping-up process that did it. It’s a balancing act, right? How hard do you push it to make progress, while not pushing it too hard to go off the edge and you set yourself back? That’s been the balancing act the whole year. I did a lot of beach walks trying to simulate the sand out here, and my foot just did not like that very much.”

Woods played a total of nine rounds in 2022 – four at The Masters, three before pulling out at the PGA Championship and two before missing the cut at the 150th Open Championship. He was scheduled to play in three events this month – the 18-hole Match partnering Rory McIlroy against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas and the 36-hole PNC Father-Son, where he partners his son Charlie.

Golf - Tiger PNC
Tiger at last years 36-hole PNC Father-Son, where he partners with son Charlie Image Credit: AFP

While Woods is still confident of playing the other two events where he is allowed to use a golf cart, the professional in him would not allow mobility assistance in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.

“The Father-Son is a sanctioned Senior event, so they can all use golf carts. And we are playing The Match on carts,” said Woods.

“On the PGA Tour, I would never use a cart. My teammate (in Stanford) was Casey Martin, and what he did with the ADA (American Disability Act, under which Martin tried to be permitted to use carts), I voted against it. I think walking is an integral part of the game at our level and I will never take a golf cart until it’s sanctioned.”

As for his plans in 2023, Woods could not give anything specific.

“I was hoping to maybe play the Open Championship this year, and I ended up playing three majors, which is not too bad all things considered,” said Woods.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods waiting to play his first shot at The Open Championship at St Andrews earlier this year. Image Credit: AP

“The goal is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more. That’s it. I mean, that’s that’s all I can do physically. I don’t have much left in this leg, so gear up for the biggest ones and hopefully, lightning catches in a bottle and I’m up there in contention with a chance to win and I remember how to do that. It’s just giving myself a chance to get out there again.”

The subject mater moved onto the new Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) system where Woods disagreed on the subject after Rory McIlroy's recent comments in Dubai.

Woods, who is now ranked 1,266th in the world, said: “It’s a flawed system. That’s something we all here recognise. The field at Dubai got less points than Sea Island and more of the top players were there in Dubai, so obviously there’s a flawed system.

“How do you fix it? You know, those are meetings we’re going to have to have. We’re going to have to have it with OWGR committee and as well as the main tours that are involved in it and somehow come up with a better system than the one that is in place now.

“I remember in my career when I had a big lead (at the top), and I didn’t have to play a single tournament the next year and I still would be ranked No1. We changed that system then. It has been changed in the past and I’m sure this will be changed hopefully soon.”

The Hero World Challenge features six of the top-10 players in the world this year, including the recent DP World Tour Championship winner Jon Rahm and world No2 Scottie Scheffler.