Three months after sustaining serious leg injuries in a car crash outside of Los Angeles, Tiger Woods finds himself in a familiar routine: rehab, rehab, rehab.
“It was an entirely different animal,” Woods said of the injuries after the crash. “I understand the rehabilitation process better because of my past injuries, but it has been more painful than anything I have ever experienced.
Rehabilitation focuses on strengthening his right leg, which suffered traumatic injuries when he lost control of his vehicle on the morning of February 23. on the wrong side of Hawthorne Avenue and eventually hit a tree by the side of the road. Authorities said there was no sign that Woods was impaired while driving and declined to press charges in connection with the crash.
Woods’ injuries included comminuted open fractures of the tibia and fibula bones of his right leg. These required immediate surgery at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center before being transferred to Cedars Sinai and finally returning to South Florida in mid-March to continue rehab from home. It’s still unclear whether additional procedures will be needed or whether Woods can expect to regain full mobility and strength in his leg.
Asked about his hopes of playing golf again, Woods made no comment but said, “My physiotherapy kept me busy. I do my routines every day and am focused on my # 1 goal right now: walking alone. Take one step at a time. “
Woods is no stranger to long-term paybacks. At the time of the accident, the 45-year-old was recovering from a microdiscectomy procedure he had undergone in December. This was Woods’ fifth back surgery and the first since his spinal fusion surgery in April 2017.
Woods also underwent five surgeries on his left knee – the one he tore before winning the 2008 US Open – and most recently an arthroscopic procedure to erase scar tissue in August 2019.
A number of other PGA Tour players have visited Woods in recent months, and the general consensus is that the 15-time major winner is in good shape and in good spirits, all things considered. Ahead of his Players Championship victory in March, Justin Thomas described encouraging texts he received from Woods, who was watching from home.
“I’m happy and I hope he’s happy, and I always appreciate his help,” Thomas said. “If you told us when you were 15 or 20 that Tiger Woods texted us the night before we had a chance to win the tournament trying to inspire us, that’s pretty cool.
Shortly after the Masters, Woods posted a photo on his Instagram page showing himself smiling, on crutches and in a walking boot.
“It’s funny because in this photo, the crutches really make my shoulders appear!” he said. “Maybe it’s training too. It was good to have the ability to stay strong and work my upper body.
One motivator that Woods acknowledged was the outpouring of support he received from around the world.
“It has been incredible,” said Woods. “I have had so much support from people both inside and outside of golf which means a lot to me and has helped me tremendously.
“Really inspiring to see @PhilMickelson start again at age 50. Congratulations!!!!!!!”