Tiger Woods understands why Kevin Durant played despite injury risk: 'We're competitors'

Tiger Woods understands what Kevin Durant is going through, maybe more than anyone.

After seeing Durant go down during Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday, he couldn’t help but feel bad for the star forward. But he understood why Durant tried to play despite the injury risk.

“Why do we do it? Because we’re competitors,” Woods said at his press conference at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on Tuesday. “As athletes, our job is to make the human body do something it’s never meant to do and do it efficiently and better than anyone else is doing it at the same time. Well, things sometimes go awry and we saw it (Monday) night with Kevin.”

Durant had missed more than a month after suffering a calf strain during Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals. There was speculation he wouldn’t come back this season, but he did for Monday’s game.

He looked great initially until one fateful second in the second quarter when he went to drive past a defender and came up hobbled and grabbed his right leg. It was later revealed he has an Achilles injury that could result in him missing most or all of next season.

It’s a spot Woods has been in. He has been through as many injuries as any golfer in the last decade, but especially in the last five years.

He has had to deal with knee and back problems and countless swing issues that have come with it as a result. Some people never thought he would get back to the golfer he was when he won the U.S. Open in 2008.

They thought 14 majors would be all he would get. Now, some believe two NBA titles will be all Durant will get. But Woods eventually fought back and won the Masters this year, 11 years after winning at Torrey Pines in 2008.

He has shown it can be done. And Durant has had to deal with injuries himself. He missed most of the 2014-15 season after a foot injury. He described that year as his toughest ever in basketball. But he came back and won two titles with the Warriors along with two Finals MVPs.

Coming back can be done, but that doesn’t make an injury like Durant suffered in Game 5 any easier to watch. It was absolutely tough for Woods to see.

“It was sad. As athletes we’ve all been there at the spot when you just know it, that something just went, and can’t move, can’t do much of anything. And you see it on his face, how solemn his face went, and he knows it, when things pop, you just know, and I’ve been there,” Woods said.

“I’ve had it to my own Achilles, I’ve had it to my own back, I know what it feels like, it’s an awful feeling and no one can help you, that’s the hard part.”