Tiger Woods has reported a dramatic improvement in physical condition since December but admitted he is still to play a full hole, or hit stronger than a nine-iron, during recovery from a third back surgery.
Speaking at the Hero World Challenge at the end of last year, Woods offered a gloomy outlook as to any return. On Wednesday in Texas, at the Bluejack National venue he designed, the 40-year-old’s demeanour was notably improved but the “no timetable” prognosis for a reappearance in competition remains.
“It is a heck of a lot better than it was then,” Woods said of his outlook. “During December I wasn’t feeling very good and you could see that all over me. I couldn’t play with my kids, I wasn’t able to throw and play catch with my son. What father and son don’t play catch? These were things that I couldn’t do.
“Can I do them now? Yes. I can’t do it all. They are out running and I can’t keep up with them but I am getting there. Part of that is playing golf; I have been chipping and putting with Charlie.”
Pressed on whether he could possibly reappear before or at the Masters, which is at best highly unlikely, Woods added: “I would love to say yes but I don’t know. It would be awesome to say I am playing and know when I will be playing but I don’t.
“It is still tough to take, it is frustrating, all these unknowns. What I do know is that I am progressing, I am getting better, I am getting stronger. I take it day by day. Sitting now talking, from where I was in December? Things have changed dramatically. I just need to keep that momentum going.”
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