He says he is progressing, but another major is set to slip by without Tiger Woods in the field.
The former world No.1 announced he will not tee it up in the U.S. Open at Oakmont next week as he continues his recovery from multiple back surgeries.
Woods, 40, recently said he still thinks he can beat Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles, but he promptly dampened expectation he was close to a comeback by rustily hitting three balls into the water during a par-three exhibition.
The 14-time major champion has not played since last August and has no time frame for his return. He will also miss the PGA Tour’s Quicken Loans National that benefits his charity the week after the U.S. Open.
“While I continue to work hard on getting healthy, I am not physically ready to play in this year’s U.S. Open and the Quicken Loans National,” Woods wrote on his official website.
“I am making progress, but I’m not yet ready for tournament competition.
“I want to thank everyone for their continued support. The positive texts, emails and calls I have received have been incredible. I want to wish the USGA, the players and everyone at Oakmont a very successful week.”
Last month, Woods told a media day for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club in Maryland that he didn’t know whether his return would be “next week or a year from now.”
He said he would only return when he can play, practice and recover day after day with no ill effects.
But he is still convinced — publicly, at least — he can add five more majors to pass Nicklaus as the most successful golfer ever, despite not having won one of the game’s big four events since the 2008 U.S. Open.
In Woods’s favor, Nicklaus won his final three majors past the age of 40, including his famous 1986 Masters title as a 46-year-old, but the “Golden Bear” did not have Woods’s catalog of injuries to contend with.
“People have written me off, I’m not that part, you know, I’m not fertilizer,” Woods told reporters at Congressional.
“I’m getting better, just give it a little time. I’m looking forward to getting out here and competing.
“I’m hoping to play. I don’t know when — that’s the overriding question I keep hearing. If I knew, I would tell you. It would be fun to know. But I don’t know.”
Woods is also keen to beat Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins — he lies second on the list with 79 titles, the last of which came in August 2013.
“It would be nice to end up at No. 1 on both lists,” he said. “That’s a long way away and it’s going to take time to get to that point but hopefully I can get back out here and play to that level.”
The year’s third major, the British Open, takes place at Royal Troon, Scotland, from July 14-17.