Tiger Woods has admitted that he is still struggling with his right ankle and has plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but insists he wouldn’t be playing in this week’s Genesis Invitational in California if he didn’t think he could contend or even win.
The tournament at the Riviera Country Club will be the first official PGA Tour event that Woods has played in since the Open Championship in July. Since then he was forced to pull out of the Hero World Challenge, an event he hosts in the Bahamas in December, due to plantar fasciitis.
Woods explained on Tuesday during a news conference, “as far as the recovery, it’s more my ankle, whether I can recover from day to day. “The leg is better than it was last year, but it’s my ankle. So being able to have it recover from day to day and meanwhile still stress it but have the recovery and also have the strength development at the same time, it’s been an intricate little balance that we’ve had to dance.”
The 47-year-old said the pain in his right foot had not completely gone away but was better, but his ankle is still giving him problems. It has been almost two years since Woods was seriously injured in a car wreck near Riviera Country Club. He underwent multiple surgeries on his right leg and foot, and he has said surgeons nearly had to amputate his right leg.
“It’s gotten so much better the last couple months. “I’m excited to go out there and compete and play with these guys. And I would not have put myself out here if I didn’t think I could beat these guys and win the event.” Woods said. “That’s my mentality. I am very rusty, but I’ve come off a rusty situation before and I’ve done well.”
If Woods were to win or even compete in the weekend at Riviera Country Club, it would be a remarkable step forward for him. Last season, he competed in just nine rounds in three major championships.
“As you watch that PNC, I was able to play out of the cart and hit shots and do whatever I wanted, but I just didn’t have the endurance in my ankle, so we’ve been working on that. I can still hit shots, but it’s the walking endurance that’s hard,” said Woods. That’s something that we’ve had to work on — walking distances on the beach, just basically stress it out but also be able to recover by the next day and see how it is inflammation-wise and then keep practicing. I may have overdone it a couple times here or there, but here I am.”
He finished 47th in the Masters, his first start since the wreck, and then withdrew after 54 holes at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills because of pain in his right leg. Woods was 9-over after 36 holes at the Old Course in St. Andrews and missed the cut at The Open.
“The plan was to play [in the Genesis],” Tiger said. “Whether or not this body would listen to me or not was the main question. As I told some of you guys that were down at the Hero and the [PNC Championship], I could do the Ranger Rick thing, so I can hit golf balls and do all that stuff. It’s a matter of whether I have endurance in my leg. We’ve been pushing it pretty good and [was] able to recover each and every day, which is great. So I’m excited about being able to compete and play and play here at Riviera, where basically it all started.”