Rory McIlroy fears for golf without downbeat Tiger Woods
Rory McIlroy said last night that golf without Tiger Woods "doesn't bear thinking about" after the 14-time Major winner revealed that his future has never seemed so bleak and that he has "no idea" when he will return from his third back surgery.
Woods has not played since August when he underwent another 'microdiscectomy' operation on his spine.
In a sombre press conference in the Bahamas, where Woods is hosting his charity-benefiting Hero World Challenge, the injury-stricken former World No 1 detailed how he had yet to begin rehab and could not bend over or even kick a football around with his children.
"I am really good at playing video games," said Woods. "That's basically how I pass my time."
What most stunned journalists at the Albany Golf Club was his willingness to put his career into context if he never played again.
"Pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy," he said. "I've had a pretty good career. For my 20 years out here, I think I've achieved a lot. If that's all it entails, I've had a pretty good run. I'm hoping that's not it. I'm hoping I can get back out here and compete against these guys."
Woods turns 40 later this month and his comments will increase speculation that the end is nigh. Two weeks ago he became Davis Love's assistant captain at the Ryder Cup next year and it appears likely that he will be forced to sit out some, if not all, of 2016.
"I have no answer for that," he said, when quizzed about a possible return date. "Neither does my surgeon or physio. There is no timetable. That's the hardest part. There's really nothing I can look forward to or nothing to build for ... Where's the light at the end of the tunnel? I don't know"
Reacting to the news, McIlroy posted on his Instagram account: "Wishing my idol and friend a speedy recovery. Golf without him doesn't bear thinking about. Hope to see you back on the course soon." (© Daily Telegraph, London)