Tiger Woods knows playing through pain caused by plantar fasciitis in his right foot probably isn’t the best thing for his long-term recovery, but the 15-time major champion said it’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make to compete with his son in this weekend’s PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida.
Woods and his son, Charlie, were both noticeably limping during Friday’s pro-am at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club. Tiger said his 13-year-old son sprained an ankle but will be ready to go when they tee off in Saturday’s first round with Justin Thomas and his father, Mike, at 12:17 p.m. ET.
Tiger Woods, who is still recovering from injuries suffered in a car wreck outside Los Angeles in February 2021, will be able to use a cart in the 36-hole scramble.
“You know, I don’t really care about that,” Woods said, of the possibility of delaying his recovery. “I think being there with and alongside my son is far more important, and [getting] to have a chance to have this experience with him is far better than my foot being a little creaky.”
It will be the third appearance in the event for Tiger and Charlie Woods; they finished seventh in 2020 and were runner-up by 2 shots to John Daly and his son last year.
“Any time I get a chance to spend time with my son, it’s always special,” Tiger said. “And to do it in a competitive forum, the last couple of years have been magical, and to be able to do it again, we’re looking forward to it.”
Because of the plantar fasciitis, Tiger said he wasn’t ready to commit to a schedule for 2023. He played in just nine rounds in three major championships this past season. He said having to sleep in a protective boot has been annoying.
“I’m doing everything,” Tiger said. “It’s frustrating because each and every day I have to do it, and then on top of that it’s trying to sleep in the damn boot, it’s no fun. My left leg is bleeding sometimes because the boot hits it. It’s just annoying. It’s one of those things that, hey, I’m grateful to have this limb and it’s mine. It’s not some fake limb; it’s mine. And, yes, there are some issues with it, but I still have it.”
Woods said his closest friends on the PGA Tour are urging him to slow down. He was forced to pull out of the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas earlier this month because of plantar fasciitis. He played 12 holes with world No. 1 Rory McIlroy in a made-for-TV match against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth last week. Woods was able to use a cart in that event as well.
“It’s been a lot harder than people probably imagine,” Tiger said. “There’s some of the players who are very close to me know what I’ve kind of gone through, and they’re the ones that keep encouraging me to back off a little bit. But that’s not really in my nature. My nature is trying to get better, and I have. And through work ethic, I was able to play and compete in three major championships this year.”
Woods said he’ll shut it down on Monday and will rest and heal. He’ll then try to ramp his game up again, presumably before the first major championship of 2023 at the Masters at Augusta National in April.
“If I didn’t have the plantar feeling like this, then, yes, I could tell you [how much I’m going to play in 2023] and I’d have a better idea,” Woods said. “But I’m supposed to be resting this thing and stretching and letting it heal, but I’m not doing that at the moment.”