The past several years of Tiger Woods' personal and professional lives have been filled with plenty of successes and failures, and the legendary golfer opened up about them in a candid interview with Time magazine that was released Thursday.
The 39-year-old star spoke to Lorne Rubenstein about several subjects, including his failed marriage, his children, his current health and his future in golf.
Woods was celebrated for his dominance on the golf course for much of his career, but perception changed in 2009 when it was revealed that he was involved in a number of extramarital affairs.
That resulted in his divorce from Elin Nordegren, but Tiger believes his relationship with his ex-wife is now as good as ever six years later:
It was too tough, too tough. But now, in hindsight, as years and years have gone by, we're like best friends. It's fun. She talks to me about her life, I talk to her about my life. We try and help each other out on all occasions. And we work through it with the kids, the parenting program. She is one of my best friends now, and it's all because of my kids. We've worked so hard, and I've shown her how much I love them.
Woods is aware that his young children, Sam and Charlie, will eventually hear about why their parents' marriage dissolved, but he is already preparing them and intends to explain the situation to them when the time is right:
"Guys, the reason why we're not in the same house, why we don't live under the same roof, Mommy and Daddy, is because Daddy made some mistakes." I just want them to understand before they get to Internet age and they log on to something or have their friends tell them something. I want it to come from me so that when they come of age, I'll just tell them the real story.
From a golf perspective, the 14-time major champion hasn't added to that total since 2008, and the past few years in particular have been plagued by injuries.
In the Time interview, Tiger discussed where he is in terms of his recovery and the impact injuries have had on his enjoyment of golf or lack thereof:
I have just started walking. That's it. ... I walk 10 minutes on the beach. That's it. Then I come back home and lie back down on the couch, or a bed. ... I can't remember the last time I watched golf. I can't stand it. Unless one of my friends has a chance to win, then I like watching it. I watched Jason [Day] win the PGA. But it was on mute. It's always on mute and I have some other game on another TV.
While Woods desires to return to golf and compete at a high level, he also has a different perspective than he had earlier in his career due to his status as a father:
Anyone I've ever talked to who has had procedures like I've had, they say the same thing: you don't know. With a joint, you know. With a nerve, you just don't know. I've talked to [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton [Manning] about his neck and what he's going through. It's tough as athletes, when you just don't know. The most important thing, though, is that I get to have a life with my kids. That's more important than golf. I've come to realize that now.
Even though Woods' outlook is bleak and many have written him off due to his injuries and poor play, he still firmly believes he can be among the best golfers in the world and compete for major championships:
Absolutely. I have to get healthy in order to do it, though. I don't think I'll ever be 100% healthy, but as close as you can to that point, that would be nice. As long as I don't have the pain, then I don't think there would be an issue. I will probably play through a little bit of pain, aches and pains, as you get older, you have more aches and pains. But I don't need another surgery, period. Let's just not go down that road ever again. No more surgeries. Seven's enough. Four knees, three backs, that's enough.
Woods has been the overwhelming favorite for almost his entire career, but he has suddenly been thrust into the underdog role, and he seems to be embracing it.
Regardless of whether Tiger ever steps foot onto a golf course again, he has enjoyed one of the best careers in the history of golf, and the argument can be made that he is the best ever.
He is playing with house money at this point, and now that he appears to be at peace with most things in his life, perhaps the golfer with the second-most wins in PGA Tour history has one more run left in him.
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