Woods confident of full 2015 schedule

After not hitting a shot in some six weeks Tiger Woods anticipates getting back to playing a full schedule next year while the former long time World No. 1 has played down the ‘old age’ remarks of the incumbent World No. 1 Rory McIlroy.

Woods, speaking during a news conference ahead of the Dec. 4-7 Hero World Challenge in Orlando, an event he hosts and where the former world number one is scheduled to make his return, said his focus until now had been solely on regaining his strength.

Tiger Wooda Tiger Woods (Credit: Anthony Powter)

“I haven’t swung a golf club yet,” said Woods. “I’ve just been shadow swinging without a club, but I’ve been busting my butt in the gym pretty hard.

“I’ve got my strength back, which is nice. Now the next goal is to get my explosiveness and my fast twitch going, and that’s the next phase of my training.”

Woods, a 14-times major winner, has struggled to find form since recovering from back surgery in late March and his disappointing performance at the PGA Championship led to only the fourth missed cut of his professional career in a major.

Two weeks after the PGA Championship, Woods ended a four-year alliance with swing coach Sean Foley, whose redesign of the American’s swing failed to produce a major title.

Woods, who worked with Hank Haney and Butch Harmon before joining forces with Foley in August 2010, has no plans to name a new coach.

“Am I looking for a new coach? As of right now, no, I’m not,” the 38-year-old said. “Right now I’m just trying to get physically better, stronger, faster, more explosive.”

“I’m in no hurry to look for one right now. As I said, I’m just focused on what I’m doing.”

Despite sounding upbeat about his recovery from injury, Woods, whose Hero World Challenge benefits his foundation and brings together 18 of the world’s top golfers, did not get into specifics about his playing schedule for next season.

“That’s all dependent on how I feel and how I’m playing when I play in the Hero World Challenge here,” said Woods.

“I’m curious … how I’m going to be feeling, how I’m going to be playing, and if I don’t have any setbacks or any pain, then I foresee a very full schedule next year.

And Woods laughed off the comments of four-time Major winning Rory McIlroy when McIlroy suggested last week that both Woods and Phil Mickelson were at the back end of their careers.

“I thought it was funny,” said Woods. “I mean, Phil has less holes to play than I do, though. What is he, five years older than me or four? Five. Yeah, so yeah, it’s a reality, you know? We’re all older.

“I’m nearing my 20th season on Tour here coming up pretty soon. I’ve been out here for a while, and Phil has been out here for a while. Phil has made every single Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team since, I think, what, ’95. Pretty remarkable.

“But yeah, it’s just part of the aging process. When I first came out here on Tour, I remember seeing some of these kids out here that – fellow players and their kids, and now I’m actually playing against their kids.

“It’s just how time goes on and time goes by. As long as you’re still part of that conversation, you cross generations in this game of golf. For instance, I got a chance to play with, as you saw all in 2000, Jack Nicklaus in the PGA Championship.”

And Woods continued saying: “Being able to cross generations like that, I remember Jack telling me at that PGA that he got a chance to play with Gene Sarazen in his last PGA.

“It’s not too often you get a chance to play with people who are legends of the game, obviously well past their prime, but they’re still playing in the same event. You don’t see that in any other sport.”

“I think that’s what makes golf so special, and that’s also what makes it so enjoyable to play, is that you can play for such a long period of time and still be successful at it.”