Tiger Woods spoke out about his painful recovery in his first interview since he was seriously injured in a February car crash.
The all-time golfing great has been resting at home in Florida and undergoing intense physical therapy after he crashed his Genesis SUV in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on Feb. 23. He suffered serious leg injuries and underwent multiple surgeries.
“This has been an entirely different animal,” he told Golf Digest in an interview that appeared online Thursday. “I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced.”
Woods declined to answer a question about his hopes of playing golf again, saying that he is using this time to recover.
“My physical therapy has been keeping me busy,” he said. “I do my routines every day and am focused on my No. 1 goal right now: walking on my own. Taking it one step at a time.”
Woods, 45, was driving at least twice the speed limit — 84 mph in a 45 mph zone — at the time of the accident, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He was still going 75 mph when he hit a tree, sending his SUV into the air, officials said.
After the crash, surgeons inserted a rod into his tibia to stabilize fractures, while screws and pins were used to stabilize foot and ankle injuries, Woods’ team said.
Woods told deputies he did not know how the crash occurred and didn’t remember driving, but authorities said there was no signs that he was impaired and he would not face any charges.
The golf star has suffered more than his share of aches and pains over a long career that has put him in the public spotlight since childhood.
Just four months after his last major title, the 2019 Masters, Woods underwent surgery to repair knee ligaments. In 2017, Woods was arrested after he was found asleep behind the wheel of his car. At the time of his arrest, he had various painkillers and sleep medication in his system, which he said he was tseeking relief from back pain. And during a 2013 Barclays tournament, Woods famously fell to his knees in pain from back spasms.
His best-known car crash came just after Thanksgiving 2009 outside his home in Florida. The incident inadvertently revealed a bitter marital dispute with his wife at the time, Elin Nordegren, as a host of women came forward to admit to having had extramarital affairs with Woods.
It is unclear if Woods needs additional procedures or if he is expected to regain full mobility and strength in his leg, according to Golf Digest. Emergency physicians previously told NBC News that Woods would face steep odds to return to the elite play that made him the world’s best-known player.
While his return to golf remains up in the air, Woods said messages from all over the world have kept him in high spirits.
“It’s been incredible,” Woods said. “I have had so much support from people both inside and outside of golf which means so much to me and has helped tremendously.”