NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tiger Woods is still no clearer on knowing when he will be ready to return to competitive golf after undergoing back surgery.
Speaking on the Golf Channel on the same day that he lost the world number one ranking to Australia's Adam Scott, Woods said he was still in the early stages of recovery.
"Still rehabbing. And it’s not a lot of fun, I’ll tell you that," he said on Monday.
"It’s a lot of tedious little exercises that I have to do. At least I still get to chip and putt which is nice, and that’s progressing.
"I’ve got my feel for that which is nice. But, still haven’t hit any full shots, it’s still a little bit too soon.”
Woods withdrew from the Masters in April to undergo treatment for a pinched nerve in his back that has troubled him for months.
With no timetable set for his return, the 14-time major winner is now almost certain to miss next month's U.S. Open in North Carolina and possibly the British Open in July.
"It’s not really in my hands. I don’t know," he said.
"I’ve got to get permission from them (doctors) before I can come back. Basically still have to continue to progress.
"That’s something that with this type of injury and this type of recovery it is slow, and it is tedious. And I’ve just got to make sure I do it right.”
The 38-year-old has been increasingly plagued by injuries in recent years as the wear and tear of years on the tour are starting to take a toll.
He failed to finish the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens in early March, quitting after 13 holes in his final round. Then the American tweaked his back again on the last day at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami a week later.
He pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a key lead-up tournament he has won eight times, in the hope that he could play at the Masters before he opted to undergo surgery.
He said he risked further injury had he kept playing because of the repetitive motion from golf but there should be no long-lasting effects from the surgery as long as he remains patient.
"It’s just because the nature of injuries that I’ve had before in the past," he said.
"I’ve had knees and Achilles (injuries) and I’ve been through that. And I could play through those.
"But this one, I just can’t do it. Back injuries are no joke. When people say they’ve felt debilitated when their back hurts, I understand what that feels like.”
(Reporting by Julian Linden in New York, editing by Gene Cherry)