Woods had third back operation last month
Says he can't even bend down to pick up a ball
Former No. 1 now 400th in the world rankings
"Doesn't know" when he will play again
Is that it for Tiger Woods?
The 14-time major champion has sunk to world No. 400 after a litany of injuries and poor form saw him tumble down the rankings.
And the 39-year old was in a particularly bleak mood recently as he revealed his physical condition is so bad after another back operation that he can’t even bend down to pick up a ball.
Woods underwent his third microdiscectomy surgery last month – a procedure to remove bone around a pinched nerve to allow space for it to heal – and admitted he has no idea when he will be back on the course.
“I have no answer for that. Neither does my surgeon or my physio,” Woods said in a press conference at Albany Golf Club in the Bahamas, where he was to host the Hero World Challenge tournament that raises funds for his charity.
“I also had to reset the clock each and every day and ‘OK, here we go, this is a new day and this is taken for what it is.’
“I listen to my surgeon, I listen to my physios, and we just take it day by day. Hopefully the day by day adds up to something positive here soon.”
Woods won his last major title at the U.S. Open in 2008 but hasn’t had a significant victory since lifting the Bridgestone Invitational in 2013.
He has previously suffered a serious knee ligament injury, but his back problem is proving particularly difficult psychologically.
“There is no timetable for this and that’s been the hardest mindset adjustment is that I don’t know,” he lamented. “Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know, so that’s been hard.
“There is nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build towards.”
Woods, who spent a record 683 weeks ranked as world No. 1, revealed that a lot of his time is now spent playing video games and soccer with his kids, although his movement is severely restricted.
“I walk. And I walk … I’m just walking, and that’s it,” he said glumly.
“I would like to be able to get to that first (bending over to pick up ball). If I can get to that, then we can start talking about golf.”
Woods is also facing up to the fact he may never win a major, or any title, again in his career.
“I think pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy,” said Woods, who has racked up 79 PGA Tour triumphs in total and over $110 million in tournament prize money.
“I’ve passed Jack (Nicklaus) in the all-time win list, just shy of Sam (Snead). I passed Sam basically a decade ago in major championships but I’m still shy of Jack’s (record of 18).
“So I’ve had a pretty good career for my 20s and 30s. For my 20 years out here I think I’ve achieved a lot, and if that’s all it entails, then I’ve had a pretty good run.
“But I’m hoping that’s not it. I’m hoping that I can get back out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it.”
And Woods isn’t the only one. Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy sent a message of support to the stricken golfer on social media.
“Wishing my idol and friend a speedy recovery,” the Northern Irishman posted on Instagram. “Golf without him doesn’t bear thinking about. Hope to see you back on the course soon.”