BETHESDA, Md. — Tiger Woods neither sounds, nor looks like, a guy who is going to play golf anytime soon.
At Congressional Country Club on Monday for Quicken Loans National media day, Woods spoke about his recovery from a trio of back surgeries in the last two years, including a pair in the last nine months.
“I’m still trying to get stronger. I’m trying to get more pliable,” he said. “I’m hitting the ball better. Everything about my game is coming around. Now it’s just a matter of being consistent with it.”
However, Woods still isn’t certain when he’ll be able to play competitive golf again. In fact, he’s not even able to pin down a comeback date in terms of weeks.
“I want to play. Trust me, I want to,” he said. “If I could tell you [my comeback date], I would. I can’t, not yet.”
He added, “It may be just to say, the plan is to get well — whether that’s next week or a year from now, I don’t know. That’s the hard part. My doctors don’t know. I don’t know. I just need to keep progressing, getting stronger.”
Woods is still unable to meet a standard of being able to practice and play a round of golf several days in a row.
“I need to be able to play and recover each and every day,” he said.
However, despite the uncertainty surrounding his comeback, Woods said he still believes he can catch Jack Nicklaus’ 18-major tally, which he currently trails by four. He also hopes to win four more times on the PGA Tour to pass Sam Snead’s 82-win record.
After fielding questions on everything from his health, to his relationship with world No. 1 Jason Day, to his return to competitive golf, Woods then took to the tee box to hit three shots from 102 yards as part of a promotional stunt for a charitable effort from his tournament’s title sponsor.
It didn’t go well.
Woods hit three shots from the up tee on the 10th hole on the host tournament course. The first two found the guarding water hazard on the fly. The third hit the bank of the green before rolling back into the water.
The initial reaction was one of nervous laughter, figuring Woods was just rusty. It seemed like Woods was intent on hitting just one ball. However, after that went in the hazard, Woods seemed to hit a second out of pride.
When that disappeared in the water, Woods said, “That’s enough for me.” The murmurs started to increase.
But then he hit a third. Afterward, Woods continued to meet club dignitaries and beneficiaries from his foundation. He did some local media availability. But the moment was deflating.
Between what he said and what he showed, it’s pretty clear Woods has no idea when he can return. So while he may have lined up accommodations for the Memorial Tournament in a few weeks, as well entered and found housing for the U.S. Open, the only game Woods knows he’ll be playing in the near future is the Waiting Game.