Spending his evenings post-round “laying in ice” just so he could get up and play again the next day is one reason why Tiger Woods will be limiting appearances to the majors for the rest of his career.
The 47-year-old finished the Genesis Invitational in California, his first official tournament since last year’s British Open, with a one-under 71, which left him in a tie for 45th.
Crowds flocked in unseen numbers to the event to see Woods as he played in visible pain, walking 72 holes in four days on a leg he nearly lost in a car crash.
Having endured surgeries to fix his leg and his back, Woods knows his time on course is limited as he outlined what it took to recover, that made sense.
“I pretty much lay in ice pretty much all night. It‘s not fun, very cold all the time,” Woods said.
“And then treatment, then getting muscles activated and go back and hop in the cold again. The ebb and flow of that, it‘s hard. It’s hard mentally, it’s hard physically.
“It‘s just one of those things, part of being an athlete, you have to — yes, we train, yes, we push our bodies, but it‘s also what’s probably even more important is the recovery process.
“If you‘re able to recover, you’re able to push it harder the next day.”
Pushing more regularly though is not part of Woods’ “reality”, with his next appearance likely to be the Masters in April.
Despite the obvious appetite from fans and fellow players to see the superstar on course as much as possible, Woods reaffirmed his appearances would be limited to the major championships going forward.
“I‘m not going to play any more than probably the majors and maybe a couple more,” he said.
“That‘s it, that’s all my body will allow me to do. My back the way it is, all the surgeries I had on my back, my leg the way it is, I just can‘t. That’s just going to be my future.
“So my intent last year was to play in all four majors, I got three of the four. Hopefully this year I can get all four and maybe sprinkle in a few here and there. But that‘s it for the rest of my career. I know that and I understand that. That‘s just my reality.”
Even knowing that, Woods said stepping out in California, signalled “progress” for him.
“It certainly was a little bit more difficult than I probably let on,” he said,
“My team has been fantastic in getting my body recovered day to day and getting me ready to play each and every day.
“That‘s the hard part that I can’t simulate at home. Even if I played four days at home, it’s not the same as adrenaline, it‘s not the same as the system being ramped up like that, the intensity, just the focus that it takes to play at this level.
“No matter how much — I‘m very good at simulating that at home, but it‘s just not the same as being out here and doing it.”