BETHESDA, Md. — Tiger Woods said he is making progress in his rehab but still won’t put a timetable on when he’ll return to competitive golf.
Woods, who hasn’t played on the PGA Tour in 10 months after two back surgeries last year, isn’t yet able to play 36 holes a day and practice how he’d like. Before getting back, he said he’d have to play several days to show his body can handle the workload.
Speaking Wednesday before his tournament, the Quicken Loans National, Woods said he has been able to hit shots and not lose distance but still deals with pain from day to day.
“I’m sore, and it’s about trying to recover for the next day,” Woods said at Congressional Country Club. “I just need to still get in I guess more golf shape, try to hit more golf balls, things of that nature.”
Woods, who has progressed far enough to play soccer with his kids and ride a bike but not yet enough to consider returning, said he has pushed through injury rehabs before and vowed not to do it again. He missed nine months in 2008 and 2009 after surgery to repair the ACL in his left knee.
“Trying to do it correctly this time,” he said. “I’m just playing it week-to-week and I keep getting better, I keep getting physically better. I just hope that everything clicks in and I can do it sooner rather than later.”
Woods hasn’t played since the Wyndham Championship in August. The 14-time major winner said it’s especially tough to miss his own tournament, which he has hosted since 2007.
“I want to be out there,” Woods said. “I feel like I should be able to compete against these guys. I miss playing against these guys. I have to sit on the sidelines just like everybody else. I might get an inside-the-ropes pass, though.”
Watching the U.S. Open on Sunday, Woods criticized the USGA for how it handled a rules situation with eventual champion Dustin Johnson. Officials told Johnson at the 12th hole they’d decide after his final round whether to penalize him for his actions on the fifth green, and he had to play the final seven holes not knowing what his score was or how far ahead he was of the rest of the field.
“It was awful because no one knew what was going on,” Woods said. “It wasn’t fair to Dustin, it wasn’t fair to the other players who had a chance. It just wasn’t fair to anyone.”
Asked how he would’ve handled that situation, the three-time U.S. Open champion said: “I’m a little bit feistier than Dustin, so I think I would’ve probably said a few more things during the round.”