Tiger Woods said he feels old and wouldn’t be playing in the Quicken Loans National this week if the golf tournament didn’t benefit his charitable foundation.
Woods, 38, has missed more than three months following back surgery and told reporters today his original goal was to return at next month’s British Open.
“If it wasn’t for the foundation, and the impact we can have with kids, I probably would not” play at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, Woods said. “The risk is minimal. Just like every round we play, things can happen.”
Woods has dropped to No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking since undergoing surgery on March 31 to repair a pinched nerve in his back. He completed one U.S. PGA Tour event this season, finishing 25th at the Cadillac Championship three weeks before his surgery, and missed the Masters Tournament in April and this month’s U.S. Open.
“This has been a tedious process,” Woods said. “I’m good enough to play and I’m going to give it a go. I’m actually probably ahead of schedule from where everyone thought I would be at. I healed fast. When you get treatment all the time, it’s amazing what you can do.”
Woods, who lost his No. 1 ranking to Australia’s Adam Scott during his absence, said daily life has improved dramatically since the surgery.
“There were weeks that I just couldn’t move,” he said. “I wasn’t able to function. I couldn’t get out of bed and just couldn’t do any normal activities. Anyone who has had any kind of nerve impingement knows it’s no joke.”
Younger players, such as 29-year-old U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer of Germany and 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who has posted six top-10 finishes this season, have stolen attention while Woods has been sidelined.
“I feel old,” Woods said. “As I’ve aged, I can’t play the way I used to. It has changed dramatically. I have to now pick my spots where I can and can’t push. When you’re young, I just pushed it all the time.”
The British Open, the third major tournament of the year, is scheduled for July 17-20 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England, where Woods won for a third time in 2006.
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