Tiger Woods admitted on Wednesday what many have suspected for some time -- that he might never play competitive golf again.
"I don't know what my future holds for me," Woods said during a news conference at Liberty National in Jersey City, N.J., in advance of the Presidents Cup, where he is serving as an assistant to U.S. captain Steve Stricker.
In his first public comments since his fourth back surgery in April, Woods said he remains optimistic.
But asked whether there was a scenario in which he would never return to competitive gold, Woods said, "Yeah, definitely. I don't know what my future holds for me. As I've told you guys, I'm hitting 60-yard shots."
Last week, Woods said on his website that he had started hitting 60-yard shots, but was not cleared to hit full shots because of the twisting that would be involved.
"Overall, I'm very optimistic how I'm progressing," the 14-time major champion said. "Like I said, 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.
"So that's going to take time to figure that out and figure out what my capabilities are going forward. And there's no rush."
The 41-year-old Woods missed all major championships the past two years, and he made attempts to return to competitive golf late in 2016 and early this year. He withdrew after a first-round 77 at the Dubai Desert Classic on Feb. 2.
"I've been out of the game for a while," he said. "First things first. Get my health organized, make sure the pain goes away. Then, basically, just as I said, just keeping waiting for what my surgeon says. I've given you guys the updates on what I can do as I progress, and that's all I'm doing.
"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."
Asked why he wants to return to golf, given his back problems, Woods said, "I think it's fun. I've been competing in golf tournaments since I was, what, 4 years old. From pitch, putt and drive to playing major championships, it's always been fun for me."
Woods did not comment on his May arrest for driving under the influence, and his subsequent acknowledgement that he entered a treatment facility.