Tiger Woods says he has no idea when he will be ready to return to the PGA Tour.
The 14-time major champion, who turns 40 at the end of this month, has been plagued by injury in recent years and had microdiscectomy surgery for the second time in September, before undergoing a follow-up procedure a month later.
At a news conference on Tuesday ahead of the Hero World Challenge, a tournament he hosts, Woods spoke candidly about the uncertainty over his future.
Asked whether he would be surprised if he had not played a tournament a year from now, Woods replied: "I've been asked this quite a bit lately and the answer is I don't know, only because I really don't.
"As I was alluding to recently with my knee surgery [in 2008] - nine months [was] the prognosis and you come back. There is no timetable for this and that's been the hardest mindset adjustment. I don't know. So that's been hard.
"I listen to my surgeon, I listen to my physios and take it day by day. And hopefully the day by day adds up to something positive here, soon."
While Woods is determined to make a full recovery from his latest procedure, he revealed a sense of satisfaction at his many achievements to date.
"I think pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy," he added. "I've passed Jack [Nicklaus] in the all-time [PGA Tour] win list, just shy of Sam [Snead]. I've passed Sam basically a decade ago in major championships, but I'm still shy of Jack's. So I've had a pretty good career [in] my twenties and thirties.
"For my 20 years out here, I think I've achieved a lot. And if that's all it entails, then I've had a pretty good run. But I'm hoping that's not it.
"I'm hoping that I can get back out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it. I miss being out here with the boys and mixing up with them and seeing who can win the event, and that's fun.
"But if that's not the case any more, then I'll find other avenues, [whether] that being growing my foundation, what we're trying to do, golf course design or other projects I have going on right now."
World number three and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy took to Instagram later on Tuesday to offer his support to Woods.
Alongside a photo of them playing together, McIlroy wrote: "Wishing my idol and friend a speedy recovery. Golf without him doesn't bear thinking about. Hope to see you back on the course soon @tigerwoods."