Tiger-Woods-BackTiger Woods’ surgically repaired back is healing, but not that quickly. He said he has no idea when he will return to the PGA Tour.

“I’d love to play, but I just don’t know,” Woods said Monday at Congressional Country Club, his first public appearance since the March 31 surgery. “That’s one of the more frustrating things. There’s no date, there’s no timetable. Just taking it day by day and just focusing on trying to get stronger and come back.

“I want to play today, but that’s just not going to happen. So just taking it step by step.”

Woods said the surgery achieved its mission and relieved the pinched nerve in his back seven weeks ago.

“It’s certainly debilitating initially — sore, pain,” Woods said of the time after the surgery. “Those are all things that do go away over time. This has been a different procedure than I’ve had in the past. Certainly a lot more tedious, with the workouts and the little things you have to do, little minutiae, things you have to do on a daily basis.”

The problem is, Woods is in pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major tournament wins and is stuck on 14. He missed the Masters last month, and it appears highly unlikely he will play in next month’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

“There really is no timetable,” Woods said. “I think that’s been kind of the realization to all of this, is that there’s no date.

“It’s just take it on a daily basis. It’s not going to be up to me whether I play or not, it’s going to be up to my docs. I want to play now. It would be nice to be able to go out there today and play …”

“I miss playing. I miss being out there on the golf course and doing that,” Woods said. “I miss getting out there and hitting balls like that and just playing. I miss the game.

“Forget about competing at the highest levels, I just miss being out there and just being around the golf course. As of right now, I can chip and putt, but that’s it. We are going to just take it slowly, and I don’t know how many more weeks I’m going to be at this pace, but at least I have something, so I’m able to actually get out there and chip and putt. But as far as full swings and that timetable about playing, I don’t know.”

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