Nov 28 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods plans to modify his tournament schedule next year after admitting being exhausted during a busy close to his comeback season following injury.
The 14-times major winner enjoyed a strong finish on his return to golf following spinal-fusion surgery in 2017, playing in 18 PGA Tour events — the most he has been involved in since 2012.
But he admitted it was a mistake to take on such a heavy schedule, participating in seven events in the final nine weeks.
“I was not physically prepared to play that much golf at the end of the year,” Woods said ahead of this week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, an event he hosts.
“It was just hard for me to maintain my strength and my weight through all that. I tend to lose a lot of weight when I play. I was exhausted by the time I got to the Ryder Cup. I was worn out mentally, physically, emotionally.”
Woods, who turns 43 on Dec. 30, is no longer able to train like he did in his prime, and the hectic end to the season ultimately took its toll.
Still, Woods was able to produce good enough form to triumph at the season-ending Tour Championship and cap a stretch in which he posted five top-10 finishes over eight tournaments.
“I played all my good tournaments when I had time off and I felt rested,” said the former world number one.
“If I didn’t feel rested, I didn’t play well. Maybe that’s just being a little bit older, but I think it’s important, and playing seven of the last nine last (season) was too much. I have to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Woods, whose tally of 14 major championships is second only to the 18 held by Jack Nicklaus, may play fewer tournaments next season but he is hopeful that will allow him to be nothing short of his best whenever he plays.
“Being physically in better shape going into next season is very important in being able to handle the condensed schedule and all the big events we play every month,” said Woods.
“There’s literally a big event every single month, so physically I’ve got to be in better shape than I was last year.”
The Hero World Challenge, which begins on Thursday and benefits Woods’ foundation, features an elite field of 18 top-ranked golfers, including four of the top five players in the world, at the Albany course on the island of New Providence. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, Editing by Neville Dalton)