Woods reflects on recent struggles

Tiger Woods has opened up on the state of his game, his personal life and his injuries in a revealing new interview.

Speaking to TIME's Lorne Rubenstein, Woods was surprisingly frank about his struggles, both past and present, having clearly had time to reflect on his life after his latest back surgery and injury-enforced lay-off.

Woods described a time his back gave out completely and he was left lying alone.

"I’ll never forget when I really hurt my back and it was close to being done, I was practicing out back at my house," he said. "I hit a flop shot over the bunker, and it just hit the nerve. And I was down. I didn’t bring my cell phone. I was out there practicing and I end up on the ground and I couldn’t call anybody and I couldn’t move. 

"Well, thank God my daughter’s a daddy’s girl and she always wants to hang out. She came out and said, 'Daddy, what are you doing lying on the ground?' I said, 'Sam, thank goodness you’re here. Can you go tell the guys inside to try and get the cart out, to help me back up?' She says, 'What’s wrong?' I said, ‘My back’s not doing very good.' She says, 'Again?' I say, 'Yes, again, Sam. Can you please go get those guys?'"

Woods' injury recovery has clearly been hard on him, and he admits watching golf has become too painful.

"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."

At least Woods is still able to reflect on his achievements, which still comfortably eclipse those of his current rivals.

"I’ve done a lot more in the game than I ever thought I could. And to be in my 30s, and to have done this much? I never would have foreseen that."

Even more surprisingly, Woods opened up about his failed marriage to Elin Nordegren, and how they've been able to become friends in recent years.

"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 also revealed that he was forced to come clean to his children about the reasons for his divorce, wanting to pre-empt them finding about the mistakes he made elsewhere.

"'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."

And while he did not bring up the prospect of the retirement, there was a sense that he realised it might be a genuine possibility, having accepted he will never be fully fit again.

"Put it this way. It’s not what I want to have happen, and it’s not what I’m planning on having happen. But if it does, it does. I’ve reconciled myself to it. 

"It’s more important for me to be with my kids. I don’t know how I could live with myself not being able to participate in my kids’ lives like that. That to me is special. Now I know what my dad felt like when we’d go out there and play nine holes in the dark.

"I don’t think I’ll ever be 100 percent 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."