Why Woods, who nearly had his right leg amputated in a car accident, fought on. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why Woods, who nearly had his right leg amputated in a car accident, fought on.

Tiger Woods' Miraculous Return to the Masters After Near-Death Experience Just 14 Months Ago

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Tiger Woods, who returned to the Masters 14 months after a near-fatal injury, shakes hands with fellow competitor Jon Rahm after 18 holes (Photo: Afro)

On February 21 last year, the day after the final day of the Genesis Invitational on the PGA TOUR, which he hosted himself, Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a car accident outside Los Angeles. The accident was so serious that his right leg was amputated and he had to undergo emergency surgery to have screws and plates implanted in his leg. He made a miraculous recovery that allowed him to play in Augusta.

He returned to Tour competition for the first time in a year and five months, since the “Masters” in November 2020, and qualified successfully with a tie for 19th place. However, it was still tough to play a round of golf with a leg injury, and he was seen leaving the course after a hole out, being carried by his manager. …… After four days, he finished in 47th place, 13 over par.

My team has worked really hard and been incredibly supportive,” he said. The surgery was great, and the physical therapy I’ve been doing every day has been perfect. But most importantly, my friends who send me messages and call me and worry about me. I want to thank them in person as well.”

He and his sons, Charlie and Justin Thomas, visited Augusta a week before the “Masters” began and played a test round. They played up to 9 holes (on the par-3 course) that day, which is used for the par-3 contest (a traditional Masters event held on Wednesday afternoon), which means that they played a total of 27 holes, but after the round Although his feet were swollen, they recovered quickly. He checked his physical condition as well as his shots, and decided that he would be able to play in the tournament.

Tiger has always said , “I play to win the tournament. If I don’ t think I can win, I won’t play. This time, with only a little over a year having passed since the near-fatal accident, he can barely walk. At the end of the year, he and his son, Charlie, played in the PGA Tour’s unofficial “PNC Championship” and finished in second place, but even at that time, they played the round using a cart. Under such circumstances, most people would probably say, “I don’t know if I can finish the four-day tournament, but I want to play first and see how it goes. Or they may not even think of playing in the Masters from the very beginning.

Tiger, however, is different. He asked a reporter, “Do you think you can win the Masters this week?” He clearly answered, “I think so.

Walking is the hardest part right now, but physically, there is nothing wrong with playing golf. Augusta is not an easy place to walk (because of the steep ups and downs), and it is a long 72-hole walk. Tough, but I’m up for the challenge.”

In fact, I saw on site what kind of walk and swing Tiger was making about his pair, but his feet seemed stiff and stubby. On the green, he could not read the line with his knees fully bent as usual. He is slightly bending his knees and leaning forward to read the line, but he moves like an inflexible senior player. He also has a narrow stride when he walks, which is far from Tiger’s original athletic walking style.

Nevertheless, during his swing, he was so dynamic that you would never feel that he had been seriously injured, and his highly accurate iron shots were often right on the pin, drawing loud cheers from the patrons (as they are called at the Masters). Even when his tee shots were crooked, he would recover with a draw or fade on the second shot, and his small tricks around the greens were as good as they had been in his prime.

The scene of an automobile accident in the suburbs of Los Angeles on February 21, 2011, the day after the final day of the Genesis Invitational on the PGA TOUR, which he hosts himself.

Before the start of the tournament, he said that his game was not in its true form, but as the days went by, he regained his senses, and after the second day’s round, in which he qualified, he said, “My sense of distance and control of my shots gradually came out. I just look at the lie of the ball, feel it, and hit it according to the remaining distance numbers. I can play well as long as I can get my technique out there rather than thinking about it,” he said.

Of course, the pain in his leg is not gone, so he had to spend a lot of time taking care of it on a daily basis to prepare for the next day’s round.

Everyone on the team works painstakingly to get me ready to compete, and it’s like NASCAR, if it breaks, you fix it. It takes a lot of time to take care of myself before I play and after I play. I’m icing the whole time, especially after I play.”

Augusta National is more inclined and has tougher ups and downs than you see on TV.

My ankles don’t move as normal and I can’t do a lot because of all the different things in my feet–rods, plates, pins, screws, etc.” If you try to lift the ball, your center of gravity is behind you, and if you have a toe-up or down lie, it puts a decent amount of strain on you. The most important thing is your ankles.”

Ben Hogan, a legend who once won nine majors and 64 PGA Tour events, was driving a car when he was seriously injured in a head-on collision with a bus in 1949. Doctors told him, “I doubt he will ever walk again.” However, he returned to the tour only 11 months later at the “Los Angeles Open” and finished second at the end of a playoff. Five months later, he won the U.S. Open at Merion Country Club.

Hogan was 36 years old at the time, so he may have been stronger and more resilient than the 46-year-old Tiger. However, modern medical technology is so advanced that even 46-year-old Tiger was miraculously able to play in the “Masters”. Tiger himself, with Hogan’s miraculous comeback as emotional support, said, “I can still do it. I can still do it, and I can still win the championship.

He has announced that he will play a select number of tournaments in the future, but his next tournament will probably be the U.S. PGA Championship in May at the earliest. The “Masters” tournament was quite physically demanding, and he must be experiencing some leg pain. I look forward to seeing Tiger play again at the U.S. Open or the U.S. PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods at the airport in Los Angeles in June 2021, about four months after the accident. At that time, he still needed a cane to walk.
Reading the lines on the green at this year’s Masters. (His right knee is still not fully healed, so he could not read the lines with his knee fully bent.
Tiger on the green when he won the Masters in 2019. This time he was reading the line with his knee completely bent
A shot from this year’s Masters. Woods walked up the slope, which was harder than it looks on TV, and fought his way through the four days.
The moment he won the Masters in 2019. He’ll be chasing this pleasure.
  • Interview and text Eiko Oizumi

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