If Tiger Woods could give his younger self one piece of advice, it would be to stop doing something that ultimately would cause him a lot of pain.
Physical pain, that is.
In a recent Q&A posted to Twitter by Golf TV, the 44-year-old said he regretted running so much. He also discussed a particularly memorable shot, whether he intends to play on the 50-and-over tour and his go-to breakfast dish, but the comments on his former workout regimen caused the biggest stir.
Among the questions Woods fielded from fans was this: “If you had one thing you could go back in time and tell your younger self, what would it be?”
“Yeah, not to run so much,” the 15-time major winner replied. “Running over 30 miles a week for probably my first five, six years on Tour pretty much destroyed my body and my knees.”
While running has gained a reputation for being hard on the knees, some studies have pointed to an opposite conclusion, at least in terms of the likely onset of arthritis. In Woods’s case, though, a torn ACL in his left knee he said he suffered while running near his Florida home in 2007 began a stretch of major injuries that nearly ended his career.
Knee and other leg problems would eventually be overtaken by back issues as Woods’s biggest obstacle. He underwent several back surgeries and missed almost all of the 2016 and 2017 PGA Tour seasons before beginning a stirring comeback the following year that crested with a triumph at the 2019 Masters.
While speaking with reporters in 2018, Woods said that when he was in his early to mid-20s, his daily routine included starting with a four-mile run; weightlifting; hitting balls for two to three hours; playing a round; working on his short game; and then running another four miles.
Oh, and at that point, he said, he would be up for it if anyone wanted to play basketball or tennis. “I’m not doing any of that now,” Woods added with a smile.
During the Q&A, Woods did not address his 2009 admission of infidelity that preceded the end of his marriage or subsequent episodes of substance abuse. Reflecting on happier times, he pointed to himself in answering a question about “the greatest shot you’ve ever witnessed.” He replied: “My chip shot in Japan was pretty good. … I was there for that one.”
That appeared to be a reference to a shot he holed from well below the green at the 2001 WGC-World Cup of Golf in Gotemba, Japan, when he and team partner David Duval needed an eagle on the final hole to push their way into a sudden-death playoff. Despite having little green to work with, Woods’s chip accomplished just that, causing Duval to break into laughter.
“Honestly, this is one of the best shots I’ve ever hit in my life,” Woods said last year.
Of potentially playing on the PGA Tour Champions, for which he will become eligible when he turns 50, Woods slyly said, “If I can get a card.”
Chances are, the powers that be on that tour will find a way to make sure Woods, by far the most popular golfer of his or arguably any era, can play at any event of his choosing. Before then, Woods will want to have broken the record for PGA Tour wins (82) that he shares with Sam Snead; he tied the mark in October at Japan’s Zozo Championship.
Then there’s Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major wins, which Woods has back in his sights after adding his 15th at the Masters last year. However, the 50-and-over tour might also offer an enticing bauble for Woods, and not just the possibility of using a cart, as he laughingly noted in November.
Fellow PGA Tour veteran Pat Perez said last month that Woods told him he wanted a U.S. Senior Open trophy to complete his lifetime haul of USGA hardware, including U.S. Junior Amateur, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open championships. “That would be unbelievable,” Perez said of attaining a quartet of titles he claimed “nobody” has.
As for Woods’s “go-to breakfast,” he provided a simple, yet meaty, response.
“That’s easy — steak and eggs,” he said.