MIAMI (AFP, REUTERS) – A smiling Tiger Woods appeared on crutches with a cast on his lower right leg and foot on Friday (April 23) in a photo posted on his Instagram account.
The image was the first of the golfer since he suffered serious right leg injuries in a one-car crash on Feb 23 near Los Angeles.
Two months later, the 15-time Major winner appeared alongside his dog Bugs, a Border Collie-Springer Spaniel mix, in the image, which was taken at his home practice facility in Jupiter, Florida.
He said that work on his three-hole backyard practice course was progressing faster than he was progressing in his recovery.
“My course is coming along faster than I am,” he wrote. “But it’s nice to have a faithful rehab partner, man’s best friend.”
The 45-year-old American has won 82 US PGA Tour titles, level with Sam Snead for the all-time record.
Before Woods was injured in the crash, he was working to overcome a back operation in time to play at the Masters earlier this month.
He has released no timetable regarding how extensive his injuries are or when he might walk normally again, much less return to his golfing career.
Police found Woods was driving at nearly twice the legal speed limit when his SUV went out of control and rolled several times before stopping.
The vehicle left the roadway in the Los Angeles County city of Rancho Palos Verdes, smashed into a sign, crossed the centre divider and barrelled down the shoulder of the road before stopping with the driver’s side down.
On April 7, the LA County sheriff attributed the main causes of the crash as excessive speed and Woods’ failure to negotiate a curve in the road. A sheriff’s spokesman also said that because there was no evidence of the vehicle braking, Woods likely pressed the accelerator accidentally rather than the brakes.
He was not cited in the crash.
Woods was hospitalised for weeks before returning home to Florida last month.
He underwent hours of surgery to repair a shattered lower right leg and ankle, including the insertion of a rod into his tibia and screws and pins being used to stabilise his ankle.
Woods had undergone a series of back operations before making a fairy-tale comeback that saw him win the 2019 Masters for his first Major title since the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines.
He played only three events in the 2020-21 PGA Tour season, most recently the 2020 Masters that was delayed until November, as he was recovering from his back surgery. His career earnings are listed at more than US$120 million (S$159.2 million).