Tiger Woods doesn’t want to go out like this.
“He doesn’t want his career to end like this,” a source close to the 45-year-old athlete said Wednesday. “So if there’s any way at all that he can continue playing golf, he will.”
Woods, who had back surgery to remove a disc fragment cutting into a nerve following the PNC Championship in December, is “frustrated” by his latest setback to his once seemingly unstoppable career.
He also wants to get back on the greens as soon as possible if he’s physically able, the source said.
“He expected 2021 to be the year of his comeback,” the source continued. “Obviously, that’s not going to happen now. And that’s disappointing to him.”
But Woods – who has had nine previous surgeries throughout his career – thinks he can add one more dramatic return to his already-imposing resume, the source said.
“This is a massive setback and he knows that it’s a massive setback,” the source told People. “But he’s overcome obstacles in the past and think he can do it again.”
Woods was conscious when he was extricated via the front windshield of a 2021 Genesis GV80 luxury SUV that crashed on a problematic downhill stretch of road in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has characterized the crash as “purely an accident” and ruled out criminal charges against Woods.
“He was not drunk,” Villanueva said Wednesday. “We can throw that one out.”
If Woods does return to golf, he’ll look to break his record-tying 82 victories on the PGA Tour and add to his 15 major championships, second only to Jack Nicklaus.
Woods reportedly has no memory of the single-vehicle rollover wreck, which left him with a shattered right leg. Doctors also inserted a rod into his leg and placed screws in his foot and ankle, according to a statement posted on Twitter.
An orthopedic surgeon at a hospital in California, meanwhile, told the Los Angeles Times Wednesday that rods, screws and pins such as those used to stabilize Woods are often intended to remain in a patient’s body for life.
“My expectation would be that I wouldn’t anticipate him and walking around for a while,” Dr. Gregory Tennant of Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana told the newspaper.
Tennant, who is not treating Woods as he recovers at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said the accident could impact his often-plagued back.
“Trauma is never truly an isolated event,” Tennant told the newspaper. “It is not uncommon to identify injuries – even significant injuries – days later, as the initial high-energy injuries are dealt with.”
But betting against Woods’ return would be foolhardy, the surgeon suggested.
“Tiger Woods has been a winner his whole life, and one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t bet against winners,” Tennant said. “You don’t bet against Michael Jordan. You don’t bet against Tiger Woods.”