Rory McIlroy says it would be "phenomenal" if Tiger Woods can prove himself and others wrong by returning to action in next week's Masters at Augusta National.

Fifteen-time major winner Woods, who has triumphed five times at The Masters, has not played on the PGA Tour since November 2020.

The 46-year-old underwent back surgery the following month and was then sustained major injuries in a car accident in February last year.

Woods previously admitted he was lucky to survive and simply making a recovery was his top priority, rather than a return to golf.

However, 25 years on from his first triumph at Augusta, the American has been listed among the expected 91 participants for the 2022 Masters, which begins on April 7.

Woods only fuelled speculation of an audacious competitive comeback when playing a practice round with his son Charlie and friend Justin Thomas on Tuesday.

There is no official word as to whether Woods will tee off in a top-tier event for the first time in well over a year, but former world number one McIlroy welcomed the idea of one of the sport's greats taking part.

"I think for golf and the Masters tournament and everyone, to have Tiger there would be phenomenal," he said at a news conference ahead of this week's Texas Open.

"It just adds to the event. Anything Tiger Woods does in the game of golf is heightened whenever he is there, so it would be awesome for him to be there.

"He was there yesterday and he's trying to see what he can do so obviously nobody knows but him if he can make it around and if he believes he can compete."

Woods, who played in the unofficial PNC Championship with his son in December, famously won the 2019 Masters after returning from multiple knee and back surgeries.

"The sheer will and perseverance, it's incredible," McIlroy added. "If he comes back from this again... he likes to prove people wrong. He likes to prove himself wrong.

"Regardless of when he does come back, he's a wonderful addition to the game, and the game of golf is better when he's playing and when he's playing well."

Tiger Woods arrived at Augusta National on Tuesday for a practice round as he considers an audacious comeback to professional golf at the Masters, reports in the United States said.

The 15-time major winner, who has triumphed five times at The Masters, has not played on the PGA Tour since November 2020.

His last appearance was at Augusta, with The Masters having been delayed by seven months in that year due to the pandemic.

He underwent back surgery in December 2020, and was then seriously hurt in a February 2021 single-car crash, when he sustained major leg and foot injuries.

Woods has since admitted he was lucky to survive, with the 46-year-old slowly recovering from the physical trauma over the past year.

The 2022 Masters marks 25 years since Woods first won at Augusta, when he sensationally triumphed by 12 strokes for his maiden major title. He last triumphed at the course in 2019, ending an 11-year wait for his 15th major.

Sports Illustrated reported on Tuesday that Woods arrived at the course to see how his body would stand up to the physical demands of the undulations at Augusta.

The report said a source, who did not wish to be named, confirmed Woods arrived with son Charlie, and that world number seven Justin Thomas, a close friend, was also with them.

The Masters runs from April 7-10, and as a former champion Woods benefits from a lifetime exemption.

He took his first steps towards a return by playing at the PNC Championship with his son in December, but that is a light-hearted event where professionals perform alongside a family member, and Woods was able to use a golf cart to get around.

Speaking last month, Woods said he was a "long way off" a return to competitive action, adding he could not commit to returning to the PGA Tour this calendar year.

"You'll see me [again] on the PGA Tour, I just don’t know when," Woods said on CBS during coverage of the Genesis Invitational.

Dustin Johnson has paid tribute to Tiger Woods ahead his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, saying everyone wanted to be like the 15-time major champion when growing up.

Woods is to be inducted at the PGA Tour headquarters in Florida on Wednesday alongside former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, four-time major winner Susie Maxwell and course developer and architect Marion Hollins.

The 46-year-old has won 82 times on the PGA Tour in his illustrious career, while his 15 majors is second only to Jack Nicklaus, who has 18.

Johnson, who has 28 professional wins to his name, including triumphs at the US Open in 2016 and Masters in 2020, credited Woods with helping to grow the game into a "cool" sport.

"Tiger obviously was huge for the game of golf and deserves to be in the Hall of Fame," Johnson said at a news conference ahead of The Players Championship, which begins on Thursday.

"For me growing up as a kid, even when I was in high school, golf was still kind of not really considered a cool sport to play. 

"Maybe not that many people played it, and especially in high school you kind of were a dork if you played golf.

"But Tiger made it actually a cool sport to play. For me, it was huge. Obviously at that time it was when he was in his prime, so watching him, everybody wanted to be like Tiger.

"He was a huge part of me playing golf and wanting to get out on Tour and play against him."

Johnson has registered just one top-10 finish in 12 previous appearances at TPC Sawgrass, when finishing in a tie for fifth in 2019.

Tiger Woods did not play a single professional tournament in 2021 but still finished in first place in the PGA Tour's new Player Impact Program as its most popular player.

Woods, a 15-time major champion, broke bones in both of his legs in a car crash last February and has since been limited to a single unofficial appearance at the parent-child PNC Championship.

The 46-year-old has remained the source of considerable intrigue as he works his way back to fitness, however.

For that reason, Woods – golf's most famous name – won the inaugural Player Impact Program (PIP) in 2021, earning $8million for first prize ahead of old rival Phil Mickelson.

Revealing the results on Wednesday, the PGA Tour explained the PIP "measured the players who generated the most positive interest".

This considers the number of times a player appears in internet searches or news articles, their social media reach and engagement, television sponsorship exposure and their "general awareness score among broad United States population".

The PIP took into account the full year of 2021, meaning Mickelson came into contention after winning the PGA Championship at 50 to become the oldest major winner of all time. Second place was good for $6m.

In 2022, Mickelson's standing may be impacted by his controversial involvement in the Saudi-backed Super Golf League.

He led Rory McIlroy (third), Jordan Spieth (fourth), Bryson DeChambeau (fifth) and Justin Thomas (sixth) – who each took home $3.5m – last year.

Dustin Johnson (seventh), Brooks Koepka (eighth), Jon Rahm (ninth) and Bubba Watson (10th) closed out the top 10, earning $3m apiece.

Tiger Woods recently vowed the PGA Tour has not seen the last of him, but surely it has seen the best of him.

This week marks 30 years since a 16-year-old Woods took his first steps onto the professional circuit, the first patter of Tiger feet coming at the Nissan Los Angeles Open, at Riviera Country Club. It is the tournament now known as the Genesis Invitational.

He appeared as an amateur, on an invitation proposed by tournament director Greg McLaughlin, and went up against an elite field on the par-71 course.

Before teeing up with tour pros Bob Friend and Dicky Thompson, however, Woods played the pre-tournament pro-am in the company of Columbo actor Peter Falk. Just one more thing... to make his week memorable.

Woods had been touted for many years as a star in the making, having first caught the eye as a prodigious talent before starting school. He won the U.S. Junior Amateur title in consecutive years from 1991 to 1993 to underline that quality.

And while his first taste of life among the elite was not a triumphant experience, neither did Woods embarrass himself on February 27 and 28, back in 1992. It was clear to many that his talent had not been overstated, and barely five years later this student of the greens and fairways had graduated to become a Masters champion.

Scores of tournament wins have come Woods' way, and there have been storied crises off the course too, most recently with his car crash horror last February 23.

Here, Stats Perform winds back the clock three decades, and reflects on the career of an all-time sporting great.

How did Tiger get on?

By his latter-day standards, awfully. But for a kid, just fine. Woods shot 72-75 to be five over par, and that meant he was 17 shots behind leader Davis Love III through 36 holes.

Love went on to lose in a playoff to Fred Couples for the title, while Woods, who was then the youngest player to appear in a PGA Tour event, missed the cut.

Some 24 years later, Woods would serve as a vice-captain to Love on Ryder Cup duty, but in 1992 they were poles apart.

However, this was a taster for Woods of the life that awaited him, and as much as the cameras were trained on the fabled youngster, he remained a boy in a man's world.

It was said that he had grown from 5ft 6in in 1990 to 6ft 1in by 1992, a spurt that meant his physique was becoming the ideal complement for his natural talent, but the 16-year-old Woods was still somewhat scrawny. Like millions of young American boys across the country, he was within touching distance of adulthood, but still tantalisingly distant.

A crisp three-wood from the first tee set him on the way to a respectable opening round of one over par, before his game dipped slightly on the Friday.

What they said?

According to Sports Illustrated, Woods' father Earl said of his son's performance: "He was playing army golf: left, right, left, right.

"But he was getting up and down like a thief. He recovered and made pars from positions that Riviera hasn't seen in a long time."

Woods was braced for teasing from his fellow students at Western High in Anaheim after failing to make it into the weekend, but those around Woods knew the trajectory of his career was only going upwards.

Mother Kultida still urged expectations to be kept in check, telling the Los Angeles Times on day one of the tournament: "He’s just a kid, just 16. It's hard for people to understand that, because he has the ability. But playing here is just a test for Tiger, to see where he is at and how far he needs to go. Let him be a kid. He loves to play."

Tiger's verdict? 'I'm not ready for this'

"It was a learning experience, and I learned I'm not that good," Woods said after completing his second round. "I can play at the junior level, but I'm not good enough to compete at this level.

"You look up at the board and see 12 under. These guys are just too good. I just don't think I'm ready for this. I have a long way to go."

He also described the experience as "the greatest two days of my life", and in 2018, on his personal website blog, said it had been "very motivating".

"At the time," Woods explained, "I hadn't played amateur golf yet; just junior golf. I skipped the amateur ranks to play in one event. It made me more determined than ever to work on my game and improve."

Here's a fact that still jars with Woods: he has never won at Riviera, where nowadays he is the tournament host.

What became of his playing partners

Neither Friend (72-71) nor Thompson (69-78) made the cut, so it was hardly the most successful grouping of the week.

Friend had his most successful year as a pro in 1998, when he earned the only three top-10 PGA Tour finishes of his career. The highlight was a second place at the Bell Canadian Open, where he lost out to Billy Andrade in a playoff for the title. By that point, Woods was a Masters champion, and he did not compete that week at Glen Abbey.

Thompson had an 11th-place finish at the 1992 Buick Southern Open and signed off his career with just two top-10 results in a PGA Tour career spanning 1991 to 1998.

Both can tell a first-hand anecdote or two about Tiger Woods from that day though.

As Friend said, according to pgatour.com: "The first [reaction] is, 'Oh man, this place is going to be a zoo'. People were all over the place.

"He was very much in his own bubble. We talked about school, 'How do you like school? What's your favourite subject?’.

"It was like playing with any other professional. Some guys talk. Some don't. He wasn't the least bit flummoxed by anything. He was very focused on what he was doing. He had the moxie of a guy who was a senior in college."

What now for Tiger?

As we know, the boy Woods went on to become the dominant golfing man of his generation.

With 15 majors among his record-tying 82 PGA Tour wins, his status as a sporting great is assured.

Woods also has 199 top-10 finishes on tour, and it might be more realistic to expect him to round that up to 200 than to imagine him winning again, as he battles to recover fully from the major leg injuries he sustained in an SUV roll that occurred in this week last year. He was fortunate to escape with his life, police said.

Woods said last week that he could not commit to returning to the PGA Tour in 2022, telling CBS: "You'll see me [again] on the PGA Tour, I just don’t know when.

"Trust me, I'd love to tell you I'll be playing next week but I don't know when, which is frustrating in that sense because I've been down this road too before with my back when I didn't know when I'd come back."

Whether he eventually does come back, or whether this is perhaps the end of the road for Woods the competitor, the world will be waiting and watching.

All those years ago at Riviera, he spoke of having "a long way to go". He went there, and then some.

Former world number one Tiger Woods admits he is not sure if he will return to the PGA Tour this year.

The 15-time major champion said earlier this week that he did not know when he will be able to competitively play golf again following his car accident in February 2021.

Woods said he was a "long way off" and added on Saturday that he could not commit to returning to the PGA Tour this calendar year.

"You'll see me [again] on the PGA Tour, I just don’t know when," Woods said on CBS during coverage of the Genesis International.

"Trust me, I'd love to tell you I'll be playing next week but I don’t know when, which is frustrating in that sense because I've been down this road too before with my back when I didn't know when I'd come back.

"It's hard. It's hard not to have goals out there. OK I want to play this event so I can set myself up for that mentally, physically and emotionally, I don’t have any of those dates in my head. I don’t know yet."

Woods had said during the week that he was still having trouble walking, having suffered significant leg injuries in the car crash.

Tiger Woods is growing frustrated that he still does not know when he will be able to competitively play golf again following his car crash.

The 15-time major champion was involved in a single-car accident a year ago that left him with open fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg.

Woods has not played competitively since and warned in December his return was a "long way off".

But the American superstar seemingly would have hoped to be able to provide a further update by now, as he revealed his irritation when speaking at the Genesis Invitational on Wednesday.

"I wish I could tell you when I'm playing again," he said. "I want to know, but I don't."

Woods revealed he still has difficulty walking, although he is "getting better" – just not as quickly as he would like.

"My golf activity has been very limited," he said. "I can chip and putt really well and hit short irons very well, but I haven't done any long stuff seriously.

"I'm still working. I'm still working on the walking part. My foot was a little messed up there about a year ago, so the walking part is something that I'm still working on, working on strength and development in that.

"It takes time. What's frustrating is it's not at my timetable. I want to be at a certain place, but I'm not. I've just got to continue working.

"I'm getting better, yes. But as I said, not at the speed and rate that I would like.

"You add in the age factor, too. You just don't quite heal as fast, which is frustrating."

Rory McIlroy wants to follow Tiger Woods' lead as he strives to return to the peak of his powers this season.

It is seven years since McIlroy won the last of his four major titles and he was reduced to tears when frankly stating he "should have done more" to try and prevent Europe from slumping to a record defeat to the United States in the Ryder Cup last September.

McIlroy went on to end 2021 with a flourish, winning the CJ Cup and finishing in a share of sixth in the DP World Tour Championship after holding the lead heading into the final round.

The 32-year-old, who will start his season at the Abu Dhabi Championship this weekend, has outlined his intention to adopt an approach that worked so well for the legendary Woods over the years.

"There are certainly aspects of what he did so well in the past that I would obviously love to put into my game," said the Northern Irishman.

McIlroy is not looking to try match Bryson DeChambeau in the driving department, though.

He added: "No, I don't need to. The goal of hitting more fairways, it maybe means throttling back and hitting three-wood a little more often or hitting clubs that are maybe not as aggressive off tees and just putting yourself in the fairway.

"I'll certainly pick and choose my spots where I can take advantage of the driver and hit it, the best player of the last 30 years, Tiger, he picked and chose where he hit driver and he played a very, very controlled game. It didn't work out too badly for him."

McIlroy revealed he is taking a different approach when setting his goals for the year.

"I used to sit down on the flight here and write down I want to win five times, I want to win a major, I want to win The Race to Dubai, I want to win the FedExCup, I'd love to win six times in a season as I've won five in the past, I want to do this or that," he said.

"And all those things are great goals and they are things to try to work towards. But I think the biggest thing for guys at the level that we're at is I want to hit over 60 per cent of my fairways.

"I want my proximity [to the hole] inside 150 yards to be a certain number. I want my strokes-gained putting to be a certain number. I can't control if I win five or six times a year.

"There's so many other variables in there. I'd rather set goals that are objective and measurable that I'm in control of.

"I can certainly control if I hit 60 per cent of the fairways and I'd love to get my iron play back to where it was a few years ago. I can control if my stats are better than they were the year before."

Tiger Woods and his son Charlie walked onto the course Sunday in the 15-time major winner's signature red, and the pair nearly pulled out some of the vaunted Woods magic on the final day at the PNC Championship.

Team Woods turned in a bogey-free round in the scramble event and finished in second place at 25 under par, two strokes back of John Daly and his son John II at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando.

Woods and his 12-year-old son recorded an eagle on the third hole and carded 11 consecutive birdies from number seven through 17 to put themselves in contention, but just being on the course was victory enough for the legend.

"We got on a nice heater,'' Woods told reporters. "Charlie was hitting the ball unbelievable. [Winning] would have had a special meaning in my heart for sure, there's no doubt about that. And it still does.

"The fact that I'm able to have this opportunity this year, even a couple weeks ago we didn't really know whether or not I would be doing this, but here we are.

"And we had just the best time ever, and I just wish I could have walked down the fairways with him and been side-by-side with him the entire time like we were last year.''

Woods used a cart for nearly the entire round as he continues to recover from the February car crash that left him with severe injuries to his right leg and foot.

The former world number one will turn 46 on December 30 and said he knows he will never play a full PGA Tour schedule again, though he hopes to "pick and choose" some events to play in once he gets closer to full strength.

His playing partner Sunday, Matt Kuchar, said he felt Woods' game was good enough to compete now, but Woods vehemently disagreed with that notion, saying: "I'm not at that level."

While his future inevitably came to mind Sunday, Woods was more interested in reflecting on what it took to get back out and play against his long-time friends and rivals the last two days.

"The competitive juices, they are never going to go away," he said. "This is my environment. This is what I've done my entire life. I'm just so thankful to be able to have this opportunity to do it again.

"Earlier this year was not a very good start to the year, and it didn't look very good. But the last few weeks, to push as hard as we have the last seven months … and to have this opportunity to be able to play with my son and to have these memories, it's worth all the pain."

Fifteen-time major winner Tiger Woods says it was a "blast" to return to the course for the first time since February's car crash that left him with severe leg injuries.

Woods played alongside his 12-year-old son Charlie at the PNC Championship in Orlando on Saturday, marking his return to competitive golf.

The pair shot a 10-under round of 62 in the father-son event, where Stewart and Reagan Cink lead after carding 59 on the opening day.

"We had a great time," Woods told reporters. “It was just a blast and we had a blast last year on the first day, it was the same.

"We had so much fun out there. We had one thing we wanted to do. We wanted to keep a clean card. Last year we made a bogey in each round."

Woods had a few flashes of his former brilliance, including a fine four iron on the third hole which landed within feet of the hole, along with a three-wood second shot on the par-five 14th.

The former world number one, who moved around on a cart between shots, admitted the round was physically challenging, having previously stated he will never return to the tour in a full-time capacity.

"I'm tired," Woods added. "I'm not in golf shape. It's just like anything: if you don't have the endurance, you start slowing down.

"I hit two good shots today - well, three that came off exactly how I wanted to, by old numbers.

"But as I explained to you guys down in the Bahamas, I don't have endurance. I haven't played. This is, what, my fourth, fifth round the entire year? I don't have any golf endurance."

Woods played alongside Justin and Mike Thomas, who are equal second after a 12-under 60. Former PGA Championship winner Justin said he was impressed by Woods upon his return.

"I was so impressed by the speed that he had and the shots he was hitting," Thomas told reporters. "At least from my perspective, it looked like a lot of the moves and everything were there.

"It just was if anything, a little short, which is probably - naturally, you would think he's not going to hit it as far ... but man, like that four-iron he hit into three today, that was just ridiculous."

Tiger Woods warned a competitive return to golf remains a "long way off" after the 15-time major champion made his comeback alongside son Charlie at Friday's PNC Championship pro-am.

Woods is on the comeback trail after a single-car crash in February left him with open fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg.

The American superstar, who previously revealed he had feared the limb would have to be amputated, has not played competitively since the accident.

Woods, though, was back on the course on Friday with his 12-year-old son at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Orlando, where the 45-year-old took part in the pro-am before Saturday's PNC Championship opening round.

However, Woods insisted a full-time return to the PGA Tour is far from imminent as he stays patient.

"It was an awesome day," Woods said. "It was just awesome to be back out here playing and being out there with my son, and we just had an absolute blast."

"[But] It's going to be a while [a competitive comeback]. I couldn't walk this golf course even right now and it's flat. I don't have the endurance.

"My leg is not quite right yet and it's going to take time. I'm a long way from playing tournament golf.

"This is hit, hop in a cart and move about my business. Being able to play tournament golf and being able to recover, practice and train and hit balls after a round and do all of the things that I need to be at a high level? I'm a long way away from that."

Woods added: "I'm just starting to get back into trying to play again. So I don't quite have the endurance that I would like to have. I've still got the hands, I've still the feel.

"Unfortunately sometimes the feel doesn't really match up with the speed or the shot that I'm seeing, so that's one of the things that Joe [LaCava, Woods' caddie] and I were talking about.

"The ball is not quite flying as far as I'd like or I'm used to and so we have to talk about some of the numbers and some of the shots and making some of those small adjustments."

Woods, meanwhile, strongly dismissed the prospect of using a buggy in full-time competition – the veteran would require a medical exemption.

"Absolutely not," he said. "Not for a PGA Tour event, no. That's just not who I am. That's not how I've always been, and if I can't play at that level, I can't play at that level. But this is a different event. This is a fun event."

Tiger Woods has announced that he will make his comeback at the PNC Championship next week.

The tournament sees a field of major champions compete alongside their children or parents and takes place between December 16 and 19 at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Orlando.

Woods suffered open fractures to the tibia and fibula in his right leg after a car crash in February and has not played competitively since.

The 45-year-old has ruled out a full-time return, but revealed his desire to play on a part-time basis and will officially make his comeback at the upcoming event alongside his son, Charlie.

The pair played in the competition last year, finishing in joint-seventh place.

"Although it's been a long and challenging year, I am very excited to close it out by competing in the PNC Championship with my son Charlie," Woods, a 15-time major winner, wrote on social media. 

"I'm playing as a dad and couldn't be more excited and proud."

Woods' return to competitive action was welcomed by Alastair Johnston, the tournament's executive chairman.

"I am delighted to confirm that Tiger and Charlie Woods will be participating in the 2021 PNC Championship," Johnston said. 

"We have been liaising with Tiger and his team for some time and are delighted that he has now decided to make his return to competitive golf at the PNC Championship."

Viktor Hovland turned the impossible possible on Sunday, overcoming a six-stroke deficit to win the Hero World Challenge.

Collin Morikawa was five shots clear at the start of the final round as the American closed in on the world number one ranking, but Hovland had other ideas in the Bahamas.

On a chaotic day, Hovland – in his first start since claiming the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba – rallied to a stunning one-shot victory with consecutive eagles and a birdie from the 14th and 16th holes.

Despite bogeying his last two holes, Hovland signed for a 66 and the winners' cheque at 18 under, ahead of Scottie Scheffler (66) in front of tournament host and 15-time major champion Tiger Woods as Morikawa capitulated in a final-round 76.

"I didn't think a win was going to be very possible," said the 24-year-old Norwegian star Hovland. "But I know this course is tricky.

"You can make birdies, but it's easy to make bogeys and doubles. If I put a good score up there, you never know what's going to happen."

An unofficial PGA Tour event, Hovland insisted the win felt like an official one given the star-studded field.

"Hell, yeah! There's only 20 guys in the field, but the players here are really good, and I feel like my wins have come when the field hasn't been as strong, so for me to do well in a field like this gives me a lot of confidence," he added.

Morikawa appeared poised to add another piece of silverware to his collection in pursuit of golf's top ranking, but the reigning Open Championship winner crumbled, missing three birdie chances from 10 feet or closer to start the round.

Two triple-bogeys and a bogey capped a forgettable front nine for Morikawa, who dropped another shot at his final hole to end the event tied for fifth – four shots adrift of Hovland, alongside Justin Thomas (64).

Sam Burns shot a three-under-par 69 to earn a share of third spot with former Masters champion Patrick Reed (69).

A four-time major winner, Brooks Koepka had to settle for a slice of ninth position at Albany Golf Club following his two-over-par 74.

Bryson DeChambeau – beaten by rival Koepka in their exhibition showdown in Las Vegas – closed with consecutive rounds in the 70s after going two over on the fourth day.

Former world number one Rory McIlroy (75) ended the tournament 12 shots back, while Jordan Spieth's nightmare Hero World Challenge resulted in a six-over-par display after shooting a 76.

Tiger Woods wants to make his return to professional golf in next year's Open Championship at St Andrews, his "favourite golf course in the world."

The former world number one and 15-time major champion suffered serious injuries to his right leg after a car crash in February and previously revealed he had feared the limb would have to be amputated.

However, the 45-year-old is now targeting a part-time comeback to competitive golf and has his eyes on a tournament that is particularly special to him.

"I would love to play at St Andrews, no doubt about it," Woods said. "It's my favourite golf course in the world. Even the Champions' Dinner is really neat to be part of.

"I attended my first one in 2005 and Peter Thomson was still alive at that time. I was sat next to him and to hear him tell his stories was awesome.

"It's like at the Masters. Those dinners are priceless. It's an honour to be part of a room like that.

"I'd love to be able to play that Open Championship and hopefully I can."

Woods had previously returned from major back surgery to claim a shock 2019 Masters victory but on Monday he ruled out a full-time return this time around.

He accepts his days at the very top of the sport are likely over after the injuries he sustained earlier this year, though Woods was philosophical about the situation.

"I don't foresee this leg ever being what it used to be," Woods added on Tuesday. "The clock's ticking. I'm not getting any younger.

"I won't have the opportunity to practice [the way I used to] given the condition of my leg. That's okay.

"As far as playing at the tour level, I don't know when that's going to happen. I'll play a round here and there. A hit and giggle.

"To see some of my shots fall out of the sky a lot shorter than they used to is eye-opening but at least I'm able to do it again."

Tiger Woods is hoping to return to professional golf on a part-time basis and revealed that he feared he would have to have his leg amputated following serious injuries sustained in a car crash in February.

Woods suffered open fractures to his right tibia and fibula in the accident in California and the 45-year-old explained that losing his leg was a serious possibility.

The 15-time major champion accepts that he will never return to the sport on a full-time basis, but believes he can play occasionally if his leg recovers fully.

"I think something that is realistic is playing the [PGA] tour one day – never full time, ever again – but pick and choose, just like Mr [Ben] Hogan did," Woods told Golf Digest. "Pick and choose a few events a year and you play around that.

"It's an unfortunate reality, but it's my reality and I understand it and I accept it. There was a point in time when, I wouldn't say it was 50-50, but it was damn near there if I was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg."

Woods was previously forced to go through a number of operations on his back, but recovered well enough to claim a shock 2019 Masters victory.

This time around, however, he says he will be more conservative.

"I don't have to compete and play against the best players in the world to have a great life," Woods continued.

"After my back fusion, I had to climb Mount Everest one more time. I had to do it, and I did. This time around, I don't think I'll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that's okay.

"I can still participate in the game of golf. I can still, if my leg gets okay, I can still click off a tournament here or there. But as far as climbing the mountain again and getting all the way to the top, I don't think that's a realistic expectation of me."

Los Angeles police said in April that Woods' crash was caused by excessive speeds that led him to lose control of the vehicle he was driving.

Police examined data recorded from the vehicle – a 2021 Genesis GV80 SUV – and found he was driving at speeds in excess of 80mph in an area with a 45mph speed limit.

He was travelling at an estimated 75mph when he hit a tree, with officers believing the five-time Masters champion might have inadvertently hit the accelerator instead of the brake as there was no evidence of braking.

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