Tiger Woods Delays His Long-Awaited Return To Golf Due To Health Reasons

Fans hoping to see Tiger Woods return to the golf course in December will unfortunately have to wait a bit longer. In February 2021, the golf champion was involved in a scary car accident which resulted in substantial injuries, per Golf Week.

Months after the accident, Woods sat down for a press conference and candidly discussed his future as a professional athlete. "As far as playing at the Tour level, I don't know when that's going to happen," he said (via ESPN). "Now, I'll play a round here or there, a little hit and giggle, I can do something like that."

However, despite his grim predictions about his golfing future, Woods was able to return to the sport for the 2022 Masters. During the opening round of the tournament, Woods shot 1-under 71, but admitted that the task was no easy feat. "I can swing a golf club," Woods joked to CBS Sports. "The walking's not easy, and it's difficult." And while it initially seemed as if the athlete was making a promising recovery, he has just shared some devastating news about his golf career.

Tiger Woods will not compete in the Hero World Challenge

In November, it was announced that Tiger Woods would make a grand return to golf during the 2022 Hero World Challenge. The move would have marked the athlete's third professional tournament entry of the year — as he competed in the Masters in February, and at St. Andrews in July. I am excited to announce that I will be in the field for this year's #HeroWorldChallenge," Woods tweeted on November 9. "See you soon at Albany!"

Unfortunately, Woods has had to cancel his planned return to the green. On November 28, Woods revealed that he was suffering from another health complication and would be unable to complete in the Hero World Challenge tournament. "In preparation and practice for this week's Hero World Challenge, I've developed plantar fasciitis in my right foot, which is making it difficult to walk," Woods wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. "After consulting with my doctors and trainers, I have decided to withdraw this week and focus on my hosting duties." The 15-time Major champion went on to reveal that he still plans on competing in The Match and PNC Championships, alongside his son Charlie.

Tiger Woods hasn't played in the Hero World Challenge since 2019

Deciding not to play in the Hero World Challenge was no doubt a tough decision for Tiger Woods, as it's been a while since we last saw the pro-golfer play in the competition — which he founded with his late dad in 1999. He last competed in 2019, as the 2020 event was canceled due to COVID-19 and he then sat out the 2021 tournament after experiencing serious injuries as a result of his highly-publicized car crash. The golfer did seem a little apprehensive about announcing himself for the 2022 Hero World Challenge too, as his name wasn't officially announced in October at the same time as many other competitors, which has some fans questioning if he would compete at all, per National Club Golfer.

There was also plenty of anticipation about his big Hero World Challenge return, which no doubt stacked the pressure pretty high for the legendary golfer. As noted by Sports Illustrated, the event was being set up as an indicator of how well Woods is really doing in the sport that made him a household name after his lower finish during The Masters in April. Woods finished in 47th place in the competition, per NPR, and even played one of his career worsts in the third round. But things could have changed. Golf Digest noted if Woods did well play in the Hero World Challenge, it could have rocketed him back up the world rankings.

Tiger Woods admitted he was just grateful to be playing again

Despite Tiger Woods' return to golf not seeing him play his very best, he's admitted he's just happy to be golfing again in the wake of his scary car crash. Speaking to CBS during The Masters in April, he shared (via USA Today), "I obviously wasn't playing my best out there. I don't know if words can really describe where I was a year ago and what my prospects were at that time. Even a month ago I didn't know if I could pull this off." Woods then added, "I got some work to do, [and] I'm looking forward to it."

The following month, Woods made it pretty clear he still wasn't totally comfortable on the course as he continued to deal with the aftermath of his crash. Woods played in the PGA Championship, but pulled out of the competition after three rounds as a result of an injury. He then missed the cut during the 150th Open, and admitted he could have appeared in the tournament at St. Andrews for the final time. "It was very emotional for me. I have been coming here since 1995. I think the next Open here comes around in 2030 and I don't know if I will be physically able to play by then. To me, it felt like this may have been my last Open at St. Andrews," he told Sky Sports in July.