Tiger Woods unsure of return date after back surgery
Tiger Woods has said he is excited about his future prospects, but gave the strongest indication yet that he will miss next month's US Open.
As he lost his world No 1 ranking to Adam Scott yesterday, the American made his first public appearance since back surgery on March 31 at Congressional Country Club, where the Quicken Loans National – which benefits his foundation – will be played from June 26-29.
Seven weeks after undergoing an operation to relieve the pain caused by a pinched nerve, Woods revealed his recovery was "slow and tedious".
And with the year's second Major championship just over three weeks away, the 38-year-old admitted he still couldn't hit full shots.
"As of right now I can chip and putt but that's it," Woods said. "We're just going to take it slowly. I don't know how many more weeks I'm going to be at this pace, but at least I have something. As far as full swings and that timetable of where I'm playing, I don't know.
"Once I get to the point where I can start playing and start ramping things up is generally when I start getting antsy about getting out there and competing, but post-surgery I am really not because I know I just can't do it."
Asked how long he would need to become competitive once given the all-clear by his doctors, Woods said: "I don't know when I come back and start ramping it up how far I am away from being explosive. Do I still have that capability of hitting the ball like that?
"Once I start feeling like that, I don't think it would take more than a couple of weeks to where I can get out there and feel like I can compete. The great thing about what I've done so far and after all my previous surgeries is worked on my short game. Once I start competing, if I start spraying it all over the lot, at least my short game's solid."
Woods' injuries have cast further doubt on his ability to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 Major titles, but he was bullish about his prospects.
"The only doubts I had were prior to the surgery," he added. "I couldn't function any more. I've had knee surgeries in the past and, yeah, I was hurting going into it, but I was functioning. Right before this surgery I couldn't do much.
"Forget about playing golf at the highest level – I couldn't get out of bed. I was certainly doubtful at that point. Am I going to be pain-free? Am I actually going to be able to do this again where I can get out of bed and play with my kids and play golf? But after the procedure it was immediate relief.
"Prior to the surgery I didn't think I would have much of a playing career if I felt like this, but now I've had the procedure I am excited about what the prospects hold. I am excited about my career."