Tiger Woods admits he may never return to competition

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Tiger Woods said he was "optimistic" about his golfing future while at the same time publicly acknowledging what has been obvious for some time, that he might never return to competitive golf.

The American former world number one won the last of his 14 major titles in 2008 and the 41-year-old has only played six competitive rounds in the past two years while trying to recover from multiple back surgeries.

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"Yeah, definitely. I don't know what my future holds for me," he said on Wednesday on the eve of the Presidents Cup when asked whether there was a scenario that would not allow him to compete again.

"I don't know what 100 percent (healthy) means after eight surgeries, but I'll try and get as close as I can to that number," Woods added.

"Is anybody in here who is in their 40s ever going to feel like they did in their 20s? Huh? Seriously? Exactly. As I've told you guys, I'm hitting 60-yard shots."

Woods was peppered with questions during a news conference with his three assistant Presidents Cup captains and the four International assistants, who often looked bored at the focus stayed on the second most prolific major champion of all time.

It was his first press conference since he was arrested close to his Florida home in May under suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs.

Toxicology reports revealed he had several prescription drugs in his system at the time.

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Tiger Woods arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence
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Tiger Woods arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence
Tiger Woods is seen handcuffed and searched by police officers in this still image from police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. on May 29, 2017. Video released on May 31, 2017. Courtesy Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tiger Eldrick Woods appears in a booking photo released by Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., May 29, 2017. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERSTHIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Tiger Woods is seen performing field sobriety tests following orders from a police officer (L) in this still image from police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. on May 29, 2017. Video released on May 31, 2017. Courtesy Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tiger Woods is seen handcuffed and arrested by police officers in this still image from police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. on May 29, 2017. Video released on May 31, 2017. Courtesy Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Damage to the late model Mercedes-Benz sedan of Tiger Woods is shown in this handout photo provided by the Town of Jupiter Police Department in Jupiter, Florida, U.S., May 31, 2017. Courtesy of Town of Jupiter Police Deparment/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tiger Woods is seen attempting to tie shoe laces before performing field sobriety tests in this still image from police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. on May 29, 2017. Video released on May 31, 2017. Courtesy Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tiger Woods is seen performing field sobriety tests following orders from a police officer (L) in this still image from police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. on May 29, 2017. Video released on May 31, 2017. Courtesy Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tiger Eldrick Woods appears in a booking photo released by Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., May 29, 2017. Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERSTHIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY
Tiger Woods is seen handcuffed by police officers in this still image from police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. on May 29, 2017. Video released on May 31, 2017. Courtesy Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Tiger Woods is seen handcuffed and searched by police officers in this still image from police dashcam video in Jupiter, Florida, U.S. on May 29, 2017. Video released on May 31, 2017. Courtesy Jupiter Police Department/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Woods, who looked strong and outwardly healthy, said the desire to have fun was fueling his drive to return to competition.

"I've been competing in golf tournaments since I was four years old. It's always been fun for me," he said.

"Overall, I'm very optimistic how I'm progressing. 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 out what my capabilities are going forward, and there's no rush.

"First things first. Just keep waiting for what the surgeon says. I'm still training, getting stronger, but I don't have my golf muscles trained because I'm not doing anything golf related."

37 PHOTOS
The most beautiful photos of Tiger Woods' golf game
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The most beautiful photos of Tiger Woods' golf game
NASSAU, BAHAMAS - DECEMBER 01: Tiger Woods of the United States hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during round one of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, The Bahamas on December 1, 2016 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GREENSBORO, NC - AUGUST 23: Tiger Woods plays his second shot on the 17th hole during the final round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on August 23, 2015 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, VA - JULY 31: Tiger Woods reads a putt on the 10th green during the second round of the Quicken Loans National at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club on July 31, 2015 in Gainesville, Virginia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, VA - JULY 30: Tiger Woods tees off on the 17th hole during the first round of the Quicken Loans National at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club on July 30, 2015 in Gainesville, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WI - AUGUST 12: Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot from the 18th tee during a practice round prior to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 12, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SHEBOYGAN, WI - AUGUST 12: Tiger Woods of the United States hits a tee shot during a practice round prior to the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits on August 12, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ST ANDREWS, SCOTLAND - JULY 17: Tiger Woods of the United States looks on from the 5th tee during the second round of the 144th Open Championship at The Old Course on July 17, 2015 in St Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 01: Tiger Woods of the USA plays his third shot on the par 5, third hole from the desert during the third round of the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis Course at the Emirates Golf Club on February 1, 2014 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 17: Tiger Woods of the USA watches his approach shot on the tenth hole during the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 17, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - JANUARY 17: Tiger Woods of the USA hits a shot on the practice ground before the start of the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship at Abu Dhabi Golf Club on January 17, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
LA JOLLA, CA - JANUARY 27: Tiger Woods hits off the tee box during the Third Round at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines South Golf Course on January 27, 2013 in La Jolla, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
LA JOLLA, CA - JANUARY 28: Tiger Woods looks on from the 12th green en route to his -14 under victory during the Final Round at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course on January 28, 2013 in La Jolla, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
MARANA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Tiger Woods hits his second shot on the second hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 21, 2013 in Marana, Arizona. Round one play was suspended on February 20 due to inclimate weather and is scheduled to be continued today. (Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)
MARANA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 16th hole during the first round of the World Golf Championships - Accenture Match Play at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 21, 2013 in Marana, Arizona. Round one play was suspended on February 20 due to inclimate weather and is scheduled to be continued today. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 27: Tiger Woods of USA plays a shot during the pro am of the Honda Classic at PGA National on February 27, 2013 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 01: Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 1, 2013 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 02: Tiger Woods walks off the fifth hole during the third round of the Honda Classic at PGA National Resort and Spa on March 2, 2013 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
KIAWAH ISLAND, SC - AUGUST 10: Tiger Woods of the United States hits off the tenth tee during Round Two of the 94th PGA Championship at the Ocean Course on August 10, 2012 in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 21: Tiger Woods of the United States plays his tee shot at the par 4, 13th hole during the first round of the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard at Bay Hill Golf and Country Club on March 21, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
LYTHAM ST ANNES, ENGLAND - JULY 17: Tiger Woods of the United States hits a shot during the second practice round prior to the start of the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes on July 17, 2012 in Lytham St Annes, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 16: (EDITORS NOTE: An infrared camera was used to create this image.) Tiger Woods of the United States hits his tee shot on the eighth hole during the third round of the 112th U.S. Open at The Olympic Club on June 16, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 11: Tiger Woods of the United States hits his approach shot on the 18th hole during the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 11, 2012 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL - MARCH 02: Tiger Woods hits his tee shot on the 12th hole during the second round of the Honda Classic at PGA National on March 2, 2012 in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MARCH 06: Tiger Woods walks off the 15th tee with swing coach Sean Foley during a practice round for the WGC-Cadillac Championship at the Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa on March 6, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 07: Tiger Woods walks across a foot bridge towards the fourth hole tee box during the second round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 7, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 10: Tiger Woods of the USA prepares for a shot on the eighth hole as a plane flies over during day one of the 2011 Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes Golf Club at The Lakes Golf Club on November 10, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
WINDERMERE, FL - MARCH 15: Tiger Woods of the USA drives from the 7th tee during the second day of the 2011 Tavistock Cup at Isleworth Golf and Country Club on March 15, 2011 in Windermere, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09: Tiger Woods walks to the 14th tee during the third round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09: The shadow of Tiger Woods is seen as he hits from a bunker on the 17th hole during the third round of the 2011 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2011 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 10: Tiger Woods of the USA hits his tee-shot on the eighth hole during the first round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic on the Majlis course at the Emirates Golf Club on February 10, 2011 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - JUNE 17: Tiger Woods hits his second shot on the ninth hole during the first round of the 110th U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links on June 17, 2010 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 12: Tiger Woods of the USA walks up the18th fairway during day two of the Australian Masters at The Victoria Golf Club on November 12, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 10: Tiger Woods waits on the fourth tee during the second round of the 2009 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2009 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 11: Tiger Woods plays his tee shot on the fourth hole during the third round of the 2009 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2009 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 09: Tiger Woods tees off the 17th tee during the rain delayed 3rd Round of The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 9, 2006 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Getty Images)
AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 08: Tiger Woods walks down the 6th fairway during the rain delayed 3rd Round of The Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 8, 2006 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Getty Images)
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Woods seemed destined to become the most prolific major winner of all time when he won the 2008 U.S. Open, moving within four titles of the record of 18 held by Jack Nicklaus.

But he has not won a major since and serious back injuries often left him crippled with pain when he tried to play over the past three years.

"There were times when I didn't know if I was going to be able to be here, because I couldn't ride in a cart. The bouncing just hurt too much," he said.

"That's all gone now, which is fantastic.

"There were some intrepid times, not just for this golf tournament but for life going forward."

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