Tiger Woods has give a rather ominous press conference at his Hero World Challenge tournament, hinting that if retirement was imminent he’s “had a pretty god run.”

The 39-year-old has not swung a golf club since operations on his back to relieve a pinched nerve in September and October.

Asked about an estimated time on his return, Woods said:

“I’ve no answer. Neither does my surgeon or physio. There’s no timetable,” he said.

“There’s nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build towards. Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know.”

It seems as though the 14-time Major winner’s rehabilitation was not as intense as it normally is.

“I walk and I walk. I’m just walking, and that’s it,” said Woods, whose last Major victory was at the US Open at Torrey Pines in 2008.

“It’s different from the other surgeries I’ve had in the past. For nerves there are really no timetables.”

When the four-times Masters champion was asked about retirement, Woods said he was satisfied with his career but was “hoping that’s not it (over).”

“For my 20 years out here I achieved a lot,” he said. “I think pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy. 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 I can get out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it.”

The sombre mood of the press conference prompted Rory McIlroy to post a picture on Instagram of himself with Woods, almost encouraging Woods not to give up.