Tiger Woods, who hasn't played a PGA Tour event since November, said he 'hopes' to return for the 2021 Masters Tournament in April in Augusta, Ga. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods hasn't participated in a golf tournament in more than three months due to his injured back. He says he doesn't know when he will return, but hopes to play in the 2021 Masters.
Woods, 45, made the comments during an interview with CBS on Sunday during the final round of the Genesis Invitational. The 15-time major champion hasn't played in a PGA Tour event since the 2020 Masters in November.
He had his fifth back surgery in December. The microdiscectomy procedure was performed to remove a pressurized disc fragment that was pinching a nerve in his lower back. He was expected to miss at least two months.
"I'm feeling fine," Woods told CBS. "I'm a little bit stiff. I have one more MRI scheduled so that we'll see if the annulus fibrosus [portion of back] is scarred over finally and see if I can start doing more activities.
"But [I'm] still in the gym, still doing the mundane stuff that you have to do for rehab, the little things before I can start gravitating toward something a little more."
CBS commentator Jim Nantz asked Woods if he could play in the 2021 Masters or plans to participate in a golf event to prepare for the major tournament.
"God I hope so, I have to get there first," Woods said. "A lot of it is based on my surgeons, doctors, and therapist to make sure I do it correctly. This is the only back I've got. I don't have much more wiggle room left there.
"I don't know what the plan is. The plan right now is to just go ahead and get there and see if the annulus is sealed and we can start progressing."
Woods -- who finished tied for 38th at the 2020 Masters -- said he has practiced putting and using his sand wedge. He sits at No. 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
The 2021 Masters is scheduled for April 8 to 11 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Woods is a five-time Masters champion.