Tiger Woods has revealed being unable to play with his children left him at a low ebb a couple of months ago, but he is much more positive now about his recovery from back surgery.
The 40-year-old cut a downbeat figure at a press conference ahead of December’s Hero World Challenge, having undergone a third back operation in the space of 19 months in October.
While Woods, who has not played since the Wyndham Championship in August, reiterated that there is no timetable for his return to competitive golf, he is in better spirits.
He said on a video broadcast on www.golfchannel.com: “When I was there in December at the Hero, I wasn’t feeling very good and you could see it all over me.
“I couldn’t play with my kids; I wasn’t able to throw and play catch with my son. What father and son don’t actually play catch?
“But I’m getting there and I’m able to participate more in their lives, I’m able to start doing things more with them and part of that is playing golf and going out there chipping and putting with (son) Charlie and having him beat me. It’s been tough at times but it’s been a lot of fun.
“One thing I do know is I am progressing, I’m getting better, I’m getting stronger and I have to just take it day by day.
“I still have to get stronger, I still have to get more flexible. There’s still a lot I have to do before I can go out and play.”
Woods admits pushing through the pain barrier earlier in his career may be partially to blame for the injury woes he has suffered in recent years.
He memorably won the last of his 14 major titles at the 2008 US Open despite visibly struggling with an injury which required surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament, forcing him to miss the remainder of that year.
He added: “This is a different injury than I’ve had in the past. It’s not my knee, it’s not where it’s nine months and I’m coming back from a total ACL reconstruction, that’s normal.
“When dealing with nerves, there is no timetable and everyone heals differently and every nerve is slightly different. That part is the most frustrating part of it, there’s no exact timetable.
“I’ve played through a lot of injuries, I’ve played through some situations I probably shouldn’t have played, won some tournaments I probably shouldn’t have won, but I’ve cost myself other tournaments by pushing through that and I’ve cost myself months and years because of it.
“But that’s what athletes do; we play through pain, we deal with injuries, it’s a part of playing sport.”