PGA Tour

Tiger delaying comeback

Tiger Woods (Getty Images)
Tiger Woods (Getty Images)

Bethesda - Second-ranked Tiger Woods, fighting to recover top form after back surgery seven weeks ago, said Monday he has no timetable for a comeback and still cannot fully swing a club.

Hours after being dethroned by Australian Adam Scott as the world's number one golfer, Woods said he remains uncertain if he can play in the next major tournament, the US Open from June 12-15 at Pinehurst, North Carolina.

"As of right now I can chip and putt," Woods said. "At least I have something.

"I don't know how much longer it will take before I can do more. As far as full swings and the timing on that, I don't know."

Woods, a 14-time major champion chasing the record 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus, underwent the microdiscectomy operation March 31 to ease a pinched nerve, forcing him to miss the Masters for the first time in his career.

He says it will be doctors who decide when he can begin his comeback bid.

"Really there is no timetable," Woods said. "That has been the real question through all this. There is no date.

"It's not up to me. It's not going to be up to me if I play. It's up to my doctors."

Woods indicated for the first time that he was having major doubts about ever making a comeback in the days before surgery.

"The only doubts I had were prior to the surgery. I couldn't function anymore," Woods said. "The time right before the surgery was tough. Even getting out of bed was a task. After I had the procedure it was a relief."

Woods said he still cannot play catch with his children and bending and twisting remain issues.

Woods said in a blog posting May 5 on his website that he hoped to return sometime this summer.

"Once I am able to get back and start ramping it up, I don't think it will take more than a couple of weeks for me to be able to compete," Woods said.

"How rusty will I be? The more time you give me, the better I will be. If I get out there and start spraying it all over the place, at least my short game is solid."

'Damn good at video games'

Woods spoke Monday in a news conference at Congressional Country Club ahead of next month's National, the $6.5 million US PGA tournament that benefits Woods' charity foundation.

The event will be played June 26-29 at the suburban Washington layout with American Bill Haas defending his title.

Woods has no idea if he will be playing or not in his usual main warm-up for the British Open.

"I would love to play but I just don't know," Woods said. "That's one of the more frustrating things. I'm taking it day-by-day and just focusing on coming back, step by step."

Woods has won majors at the sites of this year's last two major events. The British Open will be in July at Hoylake and the PGA Championship will be played in August at Valhalla.

The injury has given Woods time to ponder how he would like to make his exit from the sport, even as he indicated that day will not come soon.

"I would like to, as all athletes, go out on my own terms," Woods said. "I want to go as long as I decide to do it.

"Now that I've had the procedure, I'm excited about the prospects ahead. I'm able to do the things I want.

"I still want to feel explosive. I want to feel strong and mobile. We are certainly headed in that direction right now."

Earlier in the day, 2013 Masters winner Scott overtook Woods to claim the top spot in the world rankings for the first time, ending Woods' latest reign at 60 weeks. Woods enjoyed 281 consecutive weeks atop the rankings from 2005 to 2010.

Woods fell to second but will drop more ranking points while absent from the tour, leaving him vulnerable in the coming weeks to third-ranked Henrik Stenson of Sweden and others.

When asked about how tough it was to watch himself fall in the rankings, Woods said, "I don't feel too bad watching golf. I just can't play at that level right now."

Woods has improved in one area.

"I am damn good at video games," Woods said. "You can pass the time for hours like that and I've done that."

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