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- American golfer
Patrick Smith/Getty Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods knows he won't likely be the same player he once was following a car crash earlier this year that left him with significant injuries — and it's a truth he's willing to accept.
In his first interview since the accident, the 45-year-old told Golf Digest that he believes he can still be competitive, but will likely be selective about the tournaments he participates in after surviving a single-vehicle rollover car crash in February.
"I think something that is realistic is playing the tour one day — never full time, ever again — but pick and choose, just like Mr. [Ben] Hogan did. Pick and choose a few events a year and you play around that," he told the outlet, referencing golfer Ben Hogan, who was involved in a car accident with a bus in 1949 that left him hospitalized.
"You practice around that, and you gear yourself up for that. I think that's how I'm going to have to play it from now on," Woods explained. "It's an unfortunate reality, but it's my reality. And I understand it, and I accept it."
Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right leg, including fractures to his tibia and fibula bones, in the car crash, which occurred on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes in Southern California.
During the accident, Woods' car struck a sign in the center divider, cut through a tree and landed alongside the road. According to the documents previously obtained by CNN, Woods told police following the crash that he had no recollection of driving or how the accident happened.
Woods told Golf Digest that he has made significant strides in his recovery.
"There was a point in time when, I wouldn't say it was 50/50, but it was damn near there if I was going to walk out of that hospital with one leg," he said.
"Once I [kept it], I wanted to test and see if I still had my hands. So even in the hospital, I would have [girlfriend Erica Herman] and [friend] Rob [McNamara] throw me something," he recalled. "Throw me anything."
Earlier this month, Woods shared a three-second clip of himself practicing his swing on social media. He told Gold Digest that even if he can't "compete and play against the best players in the world," he could still have "a great life."
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"After my back fusion, I had to climb Mount Everest one more time. I had to do it, and I did," he told the outlet. "This time around, I don't think I'll have the body to climb Mount Everest and that's OK. I can still participate in the game of golf. I can still, if my leg gets OK, I can still click off a tournament here or there."
"But as far as climbing the mountain again and getting all the way to the top," he added. "I don't think that's a realistic expectation of me."