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With playing future uncertain, Tiger Woods relishes Presidents Cup role

The 14-time major champion admitted that earlier this year he wasn’t even sure he’d be able to fulfil his role as a captain’s assistant.

 U.S. Team assistant captain Tiger Woods addresses the media in a press conference during the practice round of The Presidents Cup golf tournament.
U.S. Team assistant captain Tiger Woods addresses the media in a press conference during the practice round of The Presidents Cup golf tournament.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

TIGER WOODS, STILL battling back from back surgery in April, said Wednesday he has “no idea what my future holds” even as he strives for a return to competitive golf.

The 14-time major champion admitted that earlier this year he wasn’t even sure he’d be able to fulfil his role as a captain’s assistant on the US team at this week’s Presidents Cup.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be able to be here, because I couldn’t ride in a cart. The bouncing hurt too much,” said 41-year-old Woods, who fielded numerous questions about his rehab and his future at a press conference of the assistant captains for the match play showdown between the United States and an International team.

“That’s all gone now, which is fantastic,” added Woods, who said last week his doctors had cleared him to begin swinging a cub again.

But it’s still a far cry from preparing for a return to competition — something Woods said is “definitely” far from certain.

“First things first,” Woods said. “Get my health organized, make sure the pain goes away. Then (I’m) just waiting for what my surgeon says.

“I’m still training, I’m getting stronger. But I certainly don’t have my golf muscles trained because obviously I’m not doing anything golf related.”

Woods last played in a tournament at the Dubai Desert Classic in January — withdrawing with back spasms.

He was arrested for driving under the influence near his home in Florida in May. Toxicology reports revealed he had a variety of prescription drugs in his system at the time.

Woods said he welcomed the chance to serve as an assistant to US captain Steve Stricker, alongside fellow assistants Fred Couples, Davis Love and Jim Furyk — and to lend a hand where possible to young players like Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

He played a similar role at the Ryder Cup last year.

I enjoy being out here with the guys,” Woods, a 79-time winner on the US PGA Tour. “It’s nice to be out here with some great assistant captains and our captain. I’ve played Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup matches with all of them, and to be out with these young guys — we’re going to have a lot of fun this week.”

As for his own progress, Woods said, it remains a matter of wait and see.

The pain’s gone, but I don’t know what my golfing body is going to be like, because I haven’t hit a golf shot yet,” he said.

“So that’s going to take time to figure that out and to figure out what my capabilities are going forward — and there’s no rush.”

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© – AFP, 2017

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