Woods hoping to return next month

Although Tiger Woods refrained from committing to any tournament participation, he 'hoped' to play the Quicken Loans National golf tournament next month.

Tiger Woods is currently ranked 524th in the world.   -  AP

Tiger Woods said on Monday he hopes to make his comeback from injury at next month's Quicken Loans National - but highlighted his tough road to recovery by hitting three shots into the water before watching journalists. His Tiger Woods Foundation helps host the tournament, which this year takes place at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland from June 23-26, the week following the US Open.

Woods, who has not played since undergoing two separate surgical procedures late last year, stressed that while he hoped to play at Congressional, his comeback would be contingent on his fitness. "Health? I feel good. Thank you. My kids are sick, but I'm good," Woods quipped to reporters at the event's media day.

"On a serious note, I have been practicing at home. I'm progressing nicely. I'm hoping to play (the Quicken Loans). I don't know that I'm going to play.

"That's the overriding question I keep hearing: 'When are you coming back? When are you playing?' I get it all the time. If I knew, I'd tell you. It'd be nice to know I'm going to play on such and such a date, but I don't know."

In a telling indicator of how far the world number one's game has slipped, he practiced a series of tee shots on the famous par-three 10th. Three of his efforts plunked into the water surrounding the green.

Woods revealed he has needed to adapt his practice routines as he attempts to inch his way back to health after dominating men's golf for over a decade. "I'm one of those guys who used to hit a lot of golf balls, used to sometimes practice 8-10-12 hours a day," the 14-time major champion said.

"That won't happen again. I won't be running five, six miles a day like I used to. That's not happening, either. My practices are much more focussed because they have to be. I have to be committed on every shot because I can't hit 500 golf balls in a row. I have to get a lot out of it in a short span of time."

Getting better

Nevertheless, Woods said he was encouraged by signs of progress. "I'm trying to get stronger, more pliable. I'm hitting the ball better. Everything about my game is coming around. Now it's just a matter of being consistent with it," he added.

Yet Woods emphasised that any return to tournament play would only take place when his fitness had fully returned. "The plan is to get well," said Woods, now ranked 524th in the world rankings.

"Whether that's next week or a year from now, I don't know. That's the hard part, me telling you I don't know. My doctors don't know. I don't know. ... I have to keep progressing and getting stronger, which I am, and that's the good part."

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