Days of prowling the greens could be over for Tiger

US team captain Steve Stricker and captain's assistant Tiger Woods soaking in the Presidents Cup atmosphere at the Liberty National Golf Club. Woods has not given a timeline for his return.
US team captain Steve Stricker and captain's assistant Tiger Woods soaking in the Presidents Cup atmosphere at the Liberty National Golf Club. Woods has not given a timeline for his return.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

JERSEY CITY (New Jersey) • Tiger Woods said he was "optimistic" about his golfing future while at the same time publicly acknowledging what has been obvious for some time, that he might never return to competitive golf.

The former world No. 1 won the last of his 14 Major titles in 2008 and the 41-year-old has only played six competitive rounds in the past two years while trying to recover from multiple back surgeries.

"Yeah, definitely. I don't know what my future holds for me," he said on Wednesday on the eve of the Presidents Cup when asked whether there was a possibility he would not compete again.

"I don't know what 100 per cent (fit) means after eight surgeries, but I'll try and get as close as I can to that number.

"As I've told you guys, I'm hitting 60-yard shots."

He was peppered with questions during the press conference - his first since he was arrested close to his Florida home in May under the suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Toxicology reports revealed he had several prescription drugs in his system at the time.

MURKY FUTURE

I don't know what 100 per cent (fit) means after eight surgeries... I don't have my golf muscles trained because I'm not doing anything golf-related.

TIGER WOODS, former world No. 1, admits to an air of uncertainty hanging over him with the multiple back operations having taken a toll on his body.

The American, who looked strong and outwardly healthy, said the desire to have fun was fuelling his drive to return to competition.

"I've been competing in golf tournaments since I was four years old. It's always been fun for me," he said. "Overall, I'm very optimistic how I'm progressing.

"The pain's gone, but I don't know what my golfing body is going to be like, because I haven't hit a golf shot yet...

"I'm still training, getting stronger, but I don't have my golf muscles trained because I'm not doing anything golf-related."

He admitted earlier this year he was not even sure he would be able to fulfil his role as a captain's assistant on the US team at this week's Presidents Cup. But he managed to make it alongside US captain Steve Stricker, and fellow assistants Fred Couples, Davis Love and Jim Furyk.

He welcomed the chance to lend a hand where possible to young players like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, both 24, after playing a similar role at the Ryder Cup last year.

"I enjoy being out here with the guys," said the 79-time winner on the PGA Tour.

"I've played Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches with all of them, and to be out with these young guys - we're going to have a lot of fun this week."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

PRESIDENTS CUP

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Days of prowling the greens could be over for Tiger'. Print Edition | Subscribe