Tiger Woods explains why he still has the desire to play championship despite his physical health
CMC Masters Suggested Links Tiger Woods News

Tiger Woods explains why he still has the desire to play championship despite his physical health

A photo of golfer Tiger Woods

It's no secret that Tiger Woods has a lot of physical ailments. From a back that has required spinal fusion surgeries and multiple microdiscectomies, to knees that have scoped many times, to a fused ankle, to a foot that was operated on last year to relieve plantar fasciitis, Woods is in rough shape.

And yet still, the five-time Masters champion returns to Augusta National practically every year to seek out another green jacket.

Asked Tuesday in his pre-tournament news conference why he still subjects himself to the pain and agony he experiences playing championship golf at this stage of his career and physical capability, Woods made it simple: It's a love story.

"I love golf. I do. I've always loved it," Woods said. "I played other sports growing up, but I just have always loved this sport. I love to compete.

"And be able to have the love I have for the game and the love for competition be intertwined, I think that's one of the reasons why I've had a successful career. I just love doing the work. I love logging the time in, and I love preparing. I love competing, and I love that feeling when everything's on fire with a chance to win and you either you do or you don't."

Many times over the years, Woods has talked about falling in love with the process of getting better, identifying areas of strength and weakness, and then working to improve each and every day. He obviously loves getting inside the ropes and reaping the fruits of that labor, having won 15 major championships and 82 times on the PGA Tour.

Now Woods, at age 48, is more of an elder statesman of the game. He has really opened up in recent years, sharing his knowledge with the players that seek it. He said that he revels in that opportunity to share his love and knowledge of the game.

"I love watching them succeed," Woods said. "That's part of the game is we pass on the knowledge. We don't keep it. All the players that have come before me, I really didn't really discover anything new, it's the fact that they were able to share a lot that have with me.

"And then that's what we do: We pass on the knowledge to the next generation. Especially here."

After all, Woods himself was a student of those who came before him. He sees being a mentor to younger players as playing his part in the continuation of a sport that has been the totality of his life.

" I started playing at nine months; so I've done it pretty much my entire life. I played my first tournament when I was five," Woods said. "I have been playing tournament golf and playing golf around the world, not just here in the United States but around the world. It's allowed me to see places that I don't think that I would ever have gotten a chance to see, people that I've got a chance to meet all around the world. The generational connectivity with the sport, right.

"So, as I said, with watching Sam and Gene and Byron tee off [as Masters honorary starters], two years later to watch them drinking my milkshakes [at the Masters champions dinner], to play practice rounds with Fred and Raymond, Seve over the years, Jack and Arnold -- those are memories that I'll have for a lifetime. And it's all because of this sport."

About the author

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for nearly 20 years. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He is currently a +2.6 USGA handicap, and he has covered dozens of major championships and professional golf tournaments. He likes writing about golf and making it more accessible by answering the complex questions fans have about the pro game or who want to understand how to play golf better.

Ryan talks about golf on various social platforms:

X or Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanballengee
Facebook: https://facebook.com/ryanballengeegolf
Instagram: https://instagram.com/ryanballengee
YouTube: https://youtube.com/@ryanballengeegolf

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]thegolfnewsnet.com

Ryan occasionally links to merchants of his choosing, and GNN may earn a commission from sales generated by those links. See more in GNN's affiliate disclosure.