Tiger Woods doesn't know when he'll be able to return to competitive golf.
"I have no answer to that, and neither do my surgeon or physios," Woods said Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, where he is serving as tournament host. "There is no timetable."
Woods underwent a second microdiscectomy surgery on his back in September, 18 months after an initial microdiscectomy on the same spot in his back.
Woods' last start of the year came at the Wyndham Championship in August as part of a last-ditch effort to make the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup playoffs. He came up short, finishing T-10 for his only top-1o finish of the year. During the week in Greensboro, Woods complained of pain he believed was related to his hip. However, on a visit to his surgeon, Dr. Charles Rich, in September, it was discovered that the back was pinching a nerve that led to the pain.
"I felt my hip was killing me," Woods said. "I didn't think it was my back."
Woods chose surgery rather than attempt a potentially tricky rehab. Six weeks after the September surgery, Woods had a follow-up procedure to clean up some issues created by the September surgery. He said he hasn't started rehab yet. When asked to assess what he can do physically, Woods said simply, "I walk."
The 14-time major champion has found it difficult to deal with the vagaries of his recovery, lacking a certain timetable.
"That's the hardest part for me, is that there's really nothing I can look forward to, or build towards," he said. "It's literally just taking it day-by-day, week-by-week, time-by-time."
Without a timetable or any clearly defined recovery path, Woods is uncertain if he'll be able to play again within a year's time. The next question beyond Woods playing again is if he can win again. Woods seems to believe that whatever he can produce after three back surgeries in less than two years is a bonus.
He said, "Pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy."