(Reuters) - Tiger Woods says he still believes he will surpass the record 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus, even though the former world number one has been sidelined from competition for more than a year due to a chronic back injury.
Now aged 40, Woods is in the twilight of his golfing career and has been stalled on 14 major victories since his remarkable triumph at the 2008 U.S. Open but he expressed confidence about his playing future in a Public Broadcasting Service interview.
According to an excerpt of an interview with television talk show host Charlie Rose, which will be aired in full later on Thursday, when asked if he believed he would end up with more than 18 major titles, Woods replied: "Correct".
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When Rose followed up with: "And if you don't, you will say?", Woods responded: "I didn't get there."
Earlier in his one-on-one conversation with Rose, Woods had been playful with some of his responses.
When Rose initially asked him if he thought he would get 18 major wins, Woods replied: "To be honest with you, no."
But when Rose said: "You've accepted that?", Woods replied with a laugh: "I've accepted I'm going to get more (than 18)."
The interview, which was taped on Wednesday, marked the first comments made by Woods since he announced his withdrawal from the PGA Tour's Safeway Open in northern California nine days earlier.
Woods had been hoping to make his tournament comeback after 14 months out following back surgeries, but in a surprise U-turn he said that his game was not sharp enough for him to compete in the Oct. 13-16 event in Napa.
Woods also told Rose that he hopes to make his competitive return at the Tiger Woods Foundation-run Hero World Challenge in Albany (Bahamas) from Dec. 1-4.
"You know, I miss being out there," said Woods. "I miss competing. I miss mixing it up with the boys and coming down the stretch."
Woods has not played on the PGA Tour since August 2015, having undergone surgeries in September and again in October of that year due to ongoing back problems.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue)