Golf: Tiger Woods says no timetable yet for injury comeback

BETHESDA (AFP) - 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."

Two weeks ago, Woods said in a blog posting on his website that he had been unable to resume his usual workout regimen due to soreness from the surgical incision and that he hoped to return sometime this summer.

"How far away am I from being explosive? Do I have the ability to still do that?" Woods said.

"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.

"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."

Woods spoke Monday in a news conference at Congressional Country Club ahead of next month's National, the US$6.5 million (S$8.12 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.

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, fourth-ranked American Matt Kuchar and fifth-ranked American Bubba Watson, who last month won his second Masters green jacket.

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