Tiger Woods is prepared to risk long-term injury in order to beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 Major championship victories.
World number one Woods picked up Major title number 14 with his third US Open victory on Monday after defeating Rocco Mediate on the first sudden death hole following an 18-hole play-off at Torrey Pines in southern California.
He did it playing his first tournament since arthroscopic knee surgery on April 15, nine weeks on from finishing second at the Masters.
Woods was in obvious discomfort throughout the US Open and on Friday after a gruelling second round he appeared set to withdraw from the tournament before taking pain relief to get him through the weekend.
The 32-year-old admitted he ignored doctors’ advice warning him of the risks of further injury to play at Torrey Pines and indicated he would continue to do so in his quest to surpass Nicklaus as the most successful Major winner of all time.
Woods said: “It’s hard to believe I’ve had this nice a run in my career. And hopefully it will continue. I’m going to keep practising, keep trying to grind and get better.
“As far as future ramifications, I’m not really good at listening to doctor’s orders too well.”
Asked if he was told he risked further injury by playing at Torrey Pines, Woods nodded his head. Asked if he could have injured his knee further, the reply was: “Maybe.”
Woods will now take more time out to rest his troublesome knee, leaving his participation at next month’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale in some doubt.
“To be honest with you, I really don’t know,” Woods said in response to a question about his chances of playing at the British Major.
“I think I need to shut it down for a little bit here. It’s a bit sore. I need to take a little bit of a break.”
Woods insisted he had never contemplated quitting the tournament and would have had no excuses had he lost out to Mediate for the title.
“I wasn’t going to bag it,” he said. “I think everyone knows me well enough that it’s not in my nature, I don’t know how to do that.
“It helped to have that energy from all the fans, because there were times when it stung quite a bit. I had a couple of zingers out there. But it’s nice to have that energy out there, and you’re trying to feed off it somehow.
“I try to do as best I could. It’s been sore every day. It’s been sore for a while. I just deal with it.
“All athletes deal with injuries and that’s just part of playing sports. Sports isn’t usually kind to the body. Weird things happen and that’s just the way it is.
“But it’s about dealing with it and getting it up there and giving it your best, and see what happens.
“There’s never any excuses, you just go play.