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Sports writer on Tiger Woods' crash injuries and hopes for recovery

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Tiger Woods underwent leg surgery following a rollover car crash in California Tuesday. CBS Sports writer Kyle Porter joins "CBSN AM" to talk about the golf legend's recovery and the reaction in the sports world.

Video Transcript

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Tiger Woods, who remains hospitalized this morning after a car crash. The professional golfer had to be pulled out of the wreck of his SUV after it rolled over multiple times on a California road yesterday morning. Now according to a statement on Woods' Twitter page, doctors had to insert a rod into his tibia and put screws and pins into his foot and ankle, so we want to bring in CBS Sports Writer Kyle Porter who is joining us now to talk more about Tiger Woods and his career.

Like, just repeating the injuries and what they had to do to sort of stabilize him, I really, really feel for him. He's really just coming back from back surgery, one of many. Woods has had really an incredible career with 15 Majors, 82 PGA TOUR wins, but he's also suffered multiple injuries. His 2018 TOUR Championship comeback win as they called it has gotten a lot of attention. Can you just explain to viewers what that moment and what his career has meant to the sport?

KYLE PORTER: Well, it's been incredible, you know, and what Tiger has done over the course of his career, if it stood alone, it would be amazing, but he's really changed an entire industry. You know, he's changed the entire sport of golf, and what I mean by that is you see guys that are out on the tour now that are like, hey, I'm playing golf because I watched Tiger Woods growing up.

And so golf is stronger because Tiger Woods has had the career that he's had. It has more money in it because Tiger Woods has had the career that he's had. We often joke about how players should have to pay this Tiger tax where if they make a million dollars at a tournament, they should have to pay Tiger $100,000 or $200,000, because that money would not exist if there was not interest in Tiger Woods' career.

So it really, his impact, yes, you can measure it in numbers in what he's done in terms of 82 PGA TOUR wins, like you said, 15 major championships. But the real impact, I think, is the way that he's kind of changed the entire sport and really an entire industry of this generation.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: You're so right. Yes, being one of the first, sort of, very prominent, high profile African-American successful golfers, yeah, that was one thing. And then as a result of that, the audience for golf expanded, and as a result of that, the kind of culture surrounding golf evolved, and also just as an athlete, just, a much more sort of physical, athletic golfer than what we're used to, he's a guy who really has actually focused a lot on his body and making sure that it was strong and that it would last.

And that is despite the health hurdles that he's had to go through. You wrote in an article for CBS Sports, it was sort of an oped, and you said it's time to change the question that we keep asking about Tiger Woods, which has to be, which is always about his comeback, his comeback. What do you mean by that?

KYLE PORTER: Well, what I mean by that, and I'm glad you brought up his body, because it's so battered. You know, it's been so broken down over the years, and sort of what I meant by that was, you know, the question that's always asked or at least for the last 10 years has been, hey, is this the end? Is this the end for Tiger? Is this it? Is he back, or is it, is this going to be the end of his career in terms of golf?

And I think the question should be now, I mean, look at all the things that have happened to him over the last day, much less the last 10 years. Why can't we, why can't we step away from that? He's given everything to golf. He's literally given his entire body to the sport. Why can't we step away from that, and say, hey, can this be a new beginning for Tiger, right?

He's got, he's got two kids. He's got, he could do any number of things post his on course career. Why not, why not just let it be, let the golf stuff be, and say, hey, let's let this be a new beginning for this guy who obviously has just, to me, endured so much over the course of his career. So I sort of wanted to kind of flip that around a little bit, especially at this stage of his life with him being 45, but really having the body of a 60-year-old, a 65-year-old with how many surgeries he's undergone.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Can you tell me about reaction from the golf world after hearing about this crash? You know, the thing about Tiger Woods, another thing that sort of makes him different is so many of us have watched him since he was very, very young, and there's a level of investment in him as a person that I think just isn't necessarily there when it comes to other golfers, which is why I think his ups and his downs, people kind of really take it personally. So how has the golf world reacted to this news?

KYLE PORTER: Well, there's been a couple of things, you know. I think everybody immediately is like, oh, Tiger will bounce back from this, and it's like, man, this is a very serious thing. And people, I think golfers didn't know how serious it was off the top, and so you know, you keep hearing this idea of Tiger will bounce back. Tiger will bounce back. I think that's the hope just as a human, much less as a golfer. I don't, I don't think that is really what a ton of people are thinking about, but I think the other reaction that's been super interesting is people have reacted more to him, kind of like the humanity of Tiger.

I think for so long, especially when he was young and even into his 30s, it was like this super hero and play, other players, his colleagues, even media didn't really know how to interact with somebody who was kind of larger than the sport, but you've seen guys like Justin Thomas. You've seen guys like Bryson DeChambeau react to this in, like, more of the humanity of it, more like, hey, he's a human being. He's a, he's a 45-year-old dad with kids. And so that, that to me, that's the really intriguing part to me of kind of this latter stage of his career is sort of the humanity of Tiger Woods.

ANNE-MARIE GREEN: Yeah, and I think that's great. I think, you know, whether he wants to sort of come back or not come back, I think at the end of the day, I think we all just want to see Tiger happy. He has given so much happiness to so many others that we want him healthy and happy, and that is sort of at the top of the list. Kyle Porter, thank you so much.