NEW YORK • Tiger Woods has revealed that he will not have any more surgery on his back even if it means that the golfer will never play the sport again.
The former world No. 1, yet to play since August, said in an interview with American magazine Time that golf is less important to him than spending time with his children and that he cannot stand watching the sport on television.
Woods has had surgery twice on his back in the past 18 months and had a "procedure" on his back in October. He last played at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina in August, when he tied for 10th.
He revealed earlier this week that he has not started a rehabilitation programme and told Time that he does not know when, or if, he will return.
"There's no timetable. And that's a hard mindset to go through, because I've always been a goal setter," said the 39-year-old, who has not won since the Bridgestone Invitational in 2013.
With all my heart, I do not want to stop playing golf. But the flip side is, my kids' lives are much more important. Now, if I can do both, that is an ideal world. It's a win-win. If I can only do one, it wouldn't be golf.
TIGER WOODS , on what is most important in his life right now
"Now, I had to rethink it, and say, OK, my goal is to do nothing today.
"For a guy who likes to work, that's a hard concept for me to understand.
"I know that, one, I don't want to have another procedure. And, two, even if I don't come back and I don't play again, I still want to have a quality of life with my kids.
"I started to lose that with the other surgeries."
Woods, now 400th in the rankings - his lowest as a professional, said he collapsed with a back injury while practising in his back garden and needed his eight-year-old daughter, Sam, to get help.
"She came out and said: Daddy, what are you doing lying on the ground?" he said.
"The most important thing, though, is that I get to have a life with my kids. That's more important than golf. I've come to realise that now. To watch my kids and play sports and to grow up and participate and even teach them how to become better, it gives me so much joy. I can't imagine not being able to do that as I get older.
"With all my heart, I do not want to stop playing golf. But the flip side is, my kids' lives are much more important.
"Now, if I can do both, that is an ideal world. It's a win-win. If I can only do one, it wouldn't be golf."
Woods had his children, Sam Alexis and son Charlie, with former wife Elin Nordegren.
They were married from 2004 until 2010, months after his infidelity with multiple mistresses led to a divorce.
"It would be having a more open, honest relationship with my ex-wife," the 14-time Major champion said about what he would change.
"Having the relationship that I have now with her is fantastic. She's one of my best friends. We're able to pick up the phone and we talk to each other all the time.
"We both know that the most important things in our lives are our kids. I wish I would have known that back then."
He has explained the break-up as best he can for now to the children.
"I've taken the initiative with the kids and told them up front: Guys, the reason why we're not in the same house, why we don't live under the same roof is because Daddy made some mistakes," he said.
"I just want them to understand before they get to Internet age and they log on to something or have their friends tell them something."
Woods said he enjoyed his relationship with American ski star Lindsey Vonn.
But her training and competition schedule, combined with his time with children and US golf events, left little time together so they broke up last May.
"It's a relationship that was fantastic but it just can't work on that level," he said. "It was doing an injustice to both of us."
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE