(Reuters) - Tiger Woods has not given up hope of competing in next month's U.S. Masters and is trying everything he can to overcome back problems, the former world number one said on Monday.
Woods, speaking during an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America", returned to the PGA Tour in January after a 17-month absence but has struggled with a nagging back problem.
"I'm trying everything I can just to be able to get back and play," Woods said when asked if he thought he had a chance of playing in the April 6-9 Masters.
"I love that event. It's meant so much to me in my life. It's the first major I ever played back in '95. It has so much history and meaning to me that I'd love to get back."
Since returning this year Woods missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and shot an opening-round 77 a week later in Dubai before withdrawing due to a back spasm. He has not played a tournament since.
Woods, now ranked 742nd in the world, was in New York to promote his new book: "The 1997 Masters: My Story" about the first major title he won in record-breaking style.
Should the four-times Masters champion be unable to compete at Augusta National it would be the third time in four years that he has missed the tournament.
During his TV appearance the 14-times major champion, dressed in a suit and tie, looked overjoyed as he beat the show's host in a putting competition and was awarded a trophy.
"The mind is sharp. I just need to get the body willing to do it," the 41-year-old said.
"That's the hard part. Getting the prep time. I haven't been able to get much prep time in. I haven't been able to train like I used to, practise like I used to. So it's been hard.
"My priorities have changed a lot," Woods added. "My kids now dominate my life and I think that's a good thing."
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)