US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III believes Tiger Woods can play in this year’s match with Europe, but his injuries have been “underestimated”.
Woods, 40, has not played competitively since August and has had three back operations in the last 18 months.
His agent recently denied reports that the 14-time major winner had suffered a setback with his rehabilitation.
Love said: “If he can play 10 or 12 tournaments in a row, I think he can get his game back and make our team.”
Woods, who has spent a record 683 weeks as world number one, is now ranked 445th.
He is one of Love’s vice-captains for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine from 30 September to 2 October, as the US attempt to halt a run of three successive defeats, and has targeted becoming the first playing vice-captain in the history of the event.
“Tiger is very adamant he can handle both roles,” Love told BBC World News. “I think Tiger will work hard enough, if his body will allow it.
“If he keeps stopping and starting, and the injuries keep piling up, it’s going to be tough for him but he’s very determined, we’ve seen that.”
Woods played only 11 events in 2015, carding his worst round as a professional with a 13-over-par 85 at the Memorial Tournament in Ohio in June.
He missed the cut at The Open and PGA Championship but in his final event before injury he posted rounds of 64 and 65 in finishing in a tie for 10th at the Wyndham Championship.
“We’ve underestimated his injuries,” Love said. “He has really been held down the last few years but he can play, he proved that at Greensboro [at the Wyndham]. Get him out there on the golf course and he still wants to do it.
“He just needs a full season, like any athlete, to get himself straightened out.”