The former world No1 all but ruled himself out of the third major championship of the yearon Tuesday, revealing he had been unable to practise in earnest for more than a month because of injury.
Woods hurt his knee and his achilles at the Masters and aggravated the injuries during the Players Championship in May. "In retrospect it was a borderline call whether I should have played," he said of his appearance in Florida. "I played and wasn't quite 100%. Unfortunately I hurt myself there."
He was speaking in Philadelphia where he will host this week's PGA Tour event, the AT&T National, which raises money for his charitable foundation. Woods has played while injured, most famously at the 2008 US Open which he won despite having a hairline leg fracture. This time, he said, he was being "smarter" and did not plan to return until he was 100% fit.
"I'm just playing it by ear right now. There's no timetable," he said when asked about his return. "I've always been very goal-oriented about when I'm going to play, how I'm going to peak, how I'm going to get ready, how my practice schedule is going to be, and I'm not doing that this time."
Woods was also forced to miss the US Open at Congressional, though he made it clear he had been impressed by McIlroy's victory. "It was pretty good, wasn't it? That was some seriously good playing," he said of the Northern Irishman's runaway win. "It was cool to see that he was able to go low but alsowas able to continue pushing it. That's what's fun when you have a lead is to keep building on it and keep pushing.
"You had to go out there and be aggressive and go get the birdies because everyone else was. And he just didn't make any bogeys. That was very impressive playing. To do that at a US Open, to be that aggressive the entire time, that was cool to watch."
While many have decided that McIlroy is now the man to beat at golf's biggest events, Woods, the winner of 14 majors, is not quite ready to go quietly into obscurity. "I'm 35, I'm not 65. I've still got some years ahead of me," he said. "Golf is unlike any other sport. We can play for a very long time. And given that we have the health to do it, guys have succeeded for a very long time. That's what I would like to do is play this game for as long as I want to. I feel like my best years are still ahead of me."