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Tiger Woods says car-crash injuries are ‘more painful than anything I have ever experienced’

Tiger Woods, shown here at the 2019 Masters, says he's focusing on his rehab rather than returning to the sport. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Tiger Woods has had five back surgeries, including spinal-fusion surgery in 2017, and his left leg has been operated on five times. But the severe injuries to his right leg that he suffered in a Feb. 23 car crash have been the worst of all, he said this week.

“This has been an entirely different animal,” Woods told Golf Digest’s Daniel Rapaport in his first remarks since the crash in California. “I understand more of the rehab processes because of my past injuries, but this was more painful than anything I have ever experienced.”

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Woods suffered comminuted open fractures to both the tibia and fibula in his right leg, which means both bones broke into at least three pieces and broke through the skin. He also suffered foot and ankle injuries and is rehabbing at his home in Florida after flying there from California in March.

Woods, 45, would not comment on whether he thought he would play golf again, merely saying he was focusing on his rehab.

“My physical therapy has been keeping me busy,” he said. “I do my routines every day and am focused on my number one goal right now: walking on my own. Taking it one step at a time.”

Last month, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters at a news conference that there was “no evidence of any impairment,” that there were “no open containers in the vehicle and no narcotics or any evidence of medication in the vehicle or on his person” and that Woods would not be charged in the crash. However, the sheriff’s department seemed to possibly contradict Villanueva in the 22 pages of reports it released to reporters, with Woods’s permission.

Those reports say investigators found an empty, unlabeled pill bottle in Woods’s backpack at the accident scene. They also described Woods as appearing disoriented and combative after the crash, and data from the car’s “black box” showed Woods was traveling up to 87 mph in a 45-mph zone at the time of the crash.

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Nonetheless, police did not cite Woods for speeding or reckless driving, and Villanueva said the crash was “purely an accident.”

Woods told Rapoport that he appreciated all the support he has received from fans and his fellow pro golfers.

“It’s been incredible,” Woods said. “I have had so much support from people both inside and outside of golf, which means so much to me and has helped tremendously.”

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