Tiger Woods opens up on knee surgery, match Snead's record and getting older

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Tiger Woods on injury recovery and playing at the Olympics

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ByJames Gray
28/10/2019 at 09:48 | Updated 28/10/2019 at 10:53

Tiger Woods has revealed why he was forced to have yet more surgery earlier this year after winning his 82nd PGA Tour title.

The 15-time major champion took a three-shot lead into the final day of the Zozo Championship in Japan with home favourite Hideki Matsuyama his closest rival.

But both players shot the same score on Sunday, signing for a pair of three-under-par 67s to give Woods the title at the first ever PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Japan.


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Woods had not played an event since knee surgery in August, the latest in a long list of surgical procedures on his knee and back, but bounced back immediately to win a title that draws him level with the legendary Sam Snead at the top of the all-time PGA list.

"Having the knee procedure allowed me to start putting good again," Woods told


"It’s the simple things like being able to get down and read a putt.

"I really didn’t do much of it last year, I didn’t squat, end up kneeling down from up high, lining my ball up instead of squatting and lining up my line.

"Little things like that, and eventually I didn’t rotate round the golf ball, put more strain on my back, that was getting worse so I had to manage that.

"In hindsight, I probably should have done the procedure like I planned last year after the Hero, but who knows, maybe I wouldn’t have won the Masters.

"All in all, I would have much preferred to win the Masters."

Woods' Masters win earlier this year was his first major title in 11 years, taking him to within three of all-time leader Jack Nicklaus, whose record has long been a stated aim for the 43-year-old.

But after his Zozo triumph, he now has 82 PGA titles and appeared overawed by his name joining Snead's.

Tiger Woods is now the joint-most successful PGA Tour golfer of all-time

Image credit: Getty Images

"It’s incredible – the number is crazy, how many wins that is, because you have to do it for a long period of time," Woods added.

"Sam did it into his 50s, I’m in my early 40s still. But in order to win that amount of times, you’re going to have to fail a lot.

"I have been in the position where I have lost a lot of events where I have failed. But I kept giving myself chances.

"Fortunately enough I have been able to win a few events over the years, I’ve gone on little hot streaks and hot runs and it’s all amassed into a number of 82."

Woods had been written off as a threat to any of those records after a very public and humiliating divorce as well as four separate back surgeries and a knee reconstruction.

But even after his latest time out with injury, the Californian is up to No 6 in the world rankings and in ominous form.

"This week I had decent control with my game, but more importantly I felt I was putting good again, like I was rolling again," Woods said.

"My pace was good and I felt like I could see things again. I don’t know why it is but I felt like I was back to normal again.

"I was down into to my normal routine, do my normal routine to line up a putt and I just hit it and I felt just so much better that I was able to get a little lower and see things again which you don’t really do from up high."


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