Tiger Woods' playing days are almost done. But his influence on the game will clearly continue long after he's holed his last putt.
Woods spoke Tuesday morning in advance of the Hero World Challenge, his own tiny-field tournament in the Bahamas, and as has become the norm at this event, he was unusually open and forthright, both about his own game and the state of the sport in general.
Woods has never fully recovered from the injuries suffered in a catastrophic one-car accident in February 2021. Combine that with the litany of surgeries he's had over the last decade-plus as his once-indomitable body began to break down, and he's at the point now where he's planning to play the bare minimum.
"The goal is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more. That's it," he said. "I mean, that's physically, that's all I can do."
Woods played in three majors this past season, finishing 47th at the Masters, withdrawing from the PGA Championship and missing the cut at St. Andrews in the Open Championship. If there's a positive in announcing such a reduced schedule, Woods allowed, it's that last season went better than he'd anticipated.
"I didn't expect to play three majors this year," he said. "We were hoping for just the British Open, but I was able to get two more in there, so that was a big positive."
He's already withdrawn from this weekend's tournament with plantar fasciitis, and while he plans to play in the upcoming installment of The Match and the PNC Classic with son Charlie, he concedes that there are some severe limitations.
"I like playing, I like competing," he said, "but unfortunately — I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want — I just can't walk."
Woods isn't done with the game of golf, though, not by a long shot. When asked his perspective on how the PGA Tour could co-exist with the upstart LIV Golf tour, he didn't hold back.
"Right now as it is, not right now, not with their leadership, not with Greg (Norman, LIV CEO) there and his animosity towards the Tour itself," he said. "I don't see that happening. As Rory (McIlroy) said and I said it as well, I think Greg's got to leave and then we can eventually, hopefully, have a stay between the two lawsuits and figure something out."
Both the PGA Tour and LIV have claimed that they're the proper vehicle for the game to take its next steps forward, but Woods noted that the animosity between the two tours simply prevents that.
"Now, what is the best way for our game to grow?" he said. "It's not this way. But granted, you need to have the two bodies come together. If one side has so much animosity, someone trying to destroy our tour, then how do you work with that?" LIV players' litigation against the PGA Tour, and the Tour's countersuit, is expected to take the bulk of 2023 to resolve if no settlements are reached.
"They're suing us first and we countersued them, so they have to back off the table ... and then we'll have a place to talk," Woods said. "But their leadership has to change as well. If that doesn't, then I think it's going to continue to go down the path that it's going right now."
Contact Jay Busbee at email@example.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee.