Tiger Woods has described his recovery from February’s life-threatening car accident as the toughest of his career and has admitted he feels lucky to be alive.
Woods held a press conference ahead of the Hero World Challenge, the first time he has addressed the media since sustaining serious injuries to his lower right leg, foot and ankle following his crash on February 23.
The 15-time major champion had undergone surgery 10 times prior to the incident in Los Angeles – five times on his knee and five times on his back – and was hospitalised for three weeks after the crash before continuing his rehabilitation at home.
Woods revealed that amputation of his right leg "was on the table" due to the severity of his latest injuries, with the former world No 1 also opening up about the struggles he faced during the early stages of his recovery.
"This one has been much more difficult," Woods said. "The stuff that I had on my left knee, those operations were one thing, that’s one level. Then you add the back fusion, that’s another level. Then with this right leg, it’s hard to explain how difficult it was just to be immobile for three months.
"I was just looking forward to getting outside. That was a goal of mine. Especially for a person who has lived his entire life outside, that was the goal. Finally got to that point when transitioned from wheelchair to crutches to now nothing. It has been a lot of hard work.
"It has been tough at times. Yes, some dark moments, but then again, as I was making progress through it, too, I could see some light and that was giving me hope. I’m able to participate more with my kids and their activities and more just in life in general.
"I’m lucky to be alive but also still to have the limb. Those are two crucial things. I’m very grateful that someone upstairs was taking care of me, that I’m able to not only be here but also to walk without a prosthesis."
Woods told Golf Digest earlier in the week that a return to the top of the sport was "not a realistic expectation", with the 45-year-old – who admitted to being in pain just sitting down during the press conference – putting no time frame on a potential return to competitive action.
"Internally, I haven’t reached that point," Woods added. "I haven’t proven it to myself that I can do it. I can show up here and I can host an event, I can play a par-three course, I can hit a few shots, I can chip and putt.
"If we’re talking about going out there and playing against the world’s best on the most difficult golf courses under the most difficult conditions, I’m so far from that. I have a long way to go to get to that point.
"I haven’t decided whether or not I want to get to that point. I’ve got to get my leg to a point where that decision can be made and we’ll see what happens when I get to that point, but I’ve got a long way to go with this leg."
Watch the Hero World Challenge throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage beings on Thursday from 6.30pm on Sky Sports Golf.