BETHESDA, Md. -- Tiger Woods sounded more positive about his comeback than he did a month ago when he infamously knocked a few balls into a water hazard at Congressional Country Club.
But the 14-time major winner still cannot commit to any future tournaments, although he refused to rule any out either.
"I'm still progressing, I'm still getting stronger; I'm excited about what has transpired so far,'' Woods said Wednesday at the Quicken Loans National tournament that he hosts and that benefits his foundation.
"I've gotten stronger and it's just recovering from day to day. Has anything bad happened ... that's one of the things. I'm sore and it's about trying to recover the next day. I just need to still get in, I guess, more golf shape, try to hit more golf balls, things of that nature.
"So I'm still working on it, I'm still progressing so far, and I just wish I could be here and play and be out here and get it done. Just miss playing.''
Woods has now missed eight major championships since his 2008 ACL surgery. If he misses The Open in three weeks, it would mark the first time he's skipped three major championships in a row.
It's now been 10 months since Woods last competed, which was at the Wyndham Championship in August. He tied for 10th in what was viewed as a promising tournament for him at the end of a frustrating year.
But less than a month later, he had a second microdiscectomy surgery on his lower back -- the first took place on March 31, 2014. Then in late October, he had another, unspecified back procedure.
The recovery and comeback from his most recent operations has been more arduous than any of the others that have dotted his career, including the 2008 ACL reconstruction that kept him out for nine months.
Woods said he's played 18 holes on consecutive days, which he had not done when he last spoke publicly on May 16 -- the day he hit three balls into the water during a promotional event for his tournament.
"It's about four, five days in a row, it's about me playing 36 holes daily, getting up to speed and playing,'' Woods said. "I'm not quite there yet. I'm trying to get there, I'm trying to get there as fast as I can, but I'm trying to do it right at the same time. As you know, I've pushed through a lot of injuries and rehabs before. Trying to do it correctly at this time.''
Although it seems unlikely, based on Woods' comments, that he would be ready to compete at The Open at Royal Troon in three weeks, he wouldn't rule it out. The Greenbrier Classic, which is in two weeks and which he played in last year, is the next time he could possibly play.
The issue seems to be that Woods needs to play in some kind of tournament before competing in a major championship. However, he's never played the week before The Open, and it would be difficult to play in consecutive weeks when he's still trying to put consecutive rounds together.
"I need to get to a point where I can be competitive out here, I need to practice and play,'' Woods said. "That's a totally different scenario. I'm sneaking up on both things, but the first thing first is I need to get to where I can pretty much do anything off the golf course first and then challenge myself through practice, which I'm doing, and then eventually build up to where I can play out here and compete.''
He added: "I just need to get to where, strength-wise, I can handle the workload of playing out here on a weekly basis, practicing after round, not having to go ice my back and all that kind of stuff. I need to get to where I can play 18 holes out here and go to the range for an hour and work on my game. That's what I used to do, that's one of the reasons why I think I've had some success. I was able to work on it during the week. Just not quite there yet.''
Asked specifically if he has ruled out any future tournaments, Woods said: "No, I haven't. I'm just playing it week-to-week, and I keep getting better. I keep getting physically better. I just hope that everything clicks in and I can do it sooner rather than later.''
Woods weighed in on a few other issues on Wednesday:
- On the U.S. Open penalty controversy regarding Dustin Johnson, Woods said: "It was awful because nobody knew what was going on. DJ didn't know where he stood. ... That determines what you're going to do. ... It was frustrating to watch how it was handled. ... I'm little feistier than Dustin, so I might have said a few more things during the round."
- On the Rio Olympics, he said: "It will be a spectacular event, just because it's the Olympics. It would be better if we had a more top-heavy field. ... I wish they would have had a more quality field. ... The Olympics deserve that."
- On world No. 1 Jason Day seeking his advice, Woods said: "I've had guys text me and ask questions. ... Jason has probably texted the most, spent some time at my house. I always tell him I'm not going to tell you what to do, I'll tell you what I did. ... You're going to have to figure out what's best for you."