PGA golf’s most iconic player is conceding that he will never be at the top of his game again, while helping promote the sport by making appearances at tournaments in Washington through the end of the year.
Tiger Woods, a former world No. 1 who won 14 major championships, retired from the PGA Tour in 2014, nearly a year after he said he suffered from spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. He returned to golf in December, and has played in each of the past 10 majors. The injuries and limited time have made him a doubt for the Ryder Cup, which begins Sept. 30 in France.
“Never full time, ever again,” Woods said of his plans to play golf. “I’m not a full-time golfer.”
Woods, 38, said he still has a lot to offer to the sport, especially through his work with the Tiger Woods Foundation, the charitable arm of his foundation.
Woods cited increased age for his continued decline, but he also talked about making changes in his life that caused him to change the way he conducts himself. He said he likes that challenge, but that he no longer feels confident that he can make it through a full day of practice and competition.
In order to focus on his work with the foundation, Woods said he plays tournaments around the world, not all at the same time. His priority is now his foundation.
“If I don’t play, I don’t feel like I can give my time and help as much as I want to,” Woods said, when asked about his motivation to play tournaments. “So I am out here. I play as many tournaments as I possibly can. I do support my foundation as much as I can. But I am not going to play tournaments at the top level. I just think that I have to [set] my priorities straight. My mind is always somewhere else. It’s not where I’m supposed to be.”
Woods spoke Friday at PowerShares QQQ Championship at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. He said he is still getting over how much his life changed when he found out he had spinal stenosis. He said it was difficult to make the decision to step away from the Tour.
“It was a wrench in the stomach,” Woods said. “It’s just something you have to do.”