(Reuters) - Tiger Woods, who skipped this month’s U.S. Open with leg injuries, said on Tuesday he was not sure whether he would be ready to play in the British Open.
Woods has not hit full golf shots yet and said it was too soon to determine whether he would be physically ready for the July 14-17 British Open at Royal St. George’s, the third major championship of the year.
“I don’t know,” Woods told a news conference at the PGA Tour event he is hosting this week at Aronimink. “And that’s hard for me. I’m always goal oriented, but I’m not doing that this time.”
The 14-times major winner hurt his left knee ligaments and Achilles tendon during the Masters in April and has not played since pulling out of the Players’ Championship on May 12 after playing just nine holes.
He said he made a mistake in deciding to try and play in the Players Championship five weeks after hurting himself at the Masters, adding that if he had not played in the tournament he would be fit to compete now.
“I learned my lesson at the Players. I’ll come back when I’m 100 percent. I don’t know when that will be. But I’m getting stronger and more explosive,” said Woods, sporting a goatee and long, mutton chop sideburns.
Woods, 35, has come back from injuries before and explained how he worked his way back after knee surgery following the 2008 U.S. Open, where he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff.
“Each week I was able to progress either two or three clubs in the bag,” he said about that recovery. “It doesn’t mean I’m going to do that now. It’s also dependent on how it all feels on a daily basis.
“We’re trying to push it every day and challenge my leg every day and see how it responds. If it gets better, then we move progressively a bit further, and if it doesn’t, then we either stay there or take a step back.”
Woods has recovered from four knee surgeries over the years. This time, he did not have to go under the knife.
“We’re in the gym every day, most of the time two times, sometimes three times a day, and it’s the whole chain. It’s not just the leg, it’s the whole body. Got to keep everything going.
“We’re testing it every day to see what it feels like ... and push it as far as the leg will go. And each day it’s gotten better. We haven’t had any setbacks, which has been good.”
The former world number one said it would be disappointing if he could not be ready for the British Open but stressed that there is no timetable for his return as his focus is on getting fully healthy.
“That’s hard for me. I’ve always been very goal-oriented about when I’m going to play, how I’m going to peak, how I’m going to get ready, how my practice schedule is going to be, and I’m not doing that this time.
“Unfortunately, I pushed it too hard and hurt myself,” he added about competing at the Players. “This time around I’m not going to do that again.”