Former world number one Tiger Woods expects to recover from injury in time to stage a challenge to qualify for the United States Ryder Cup team for the 2016 contest with Europe at Hazeltine, according to captain Davis Love III.
Woods has not played since withdrawing from the Farmers Insurance Open in February due to a recurrence of a back problem that saw him miss the Gleneagles match in 2014 and subsequently the start of the qualifying window at the WGC-Cadillac-Championship.
The 14-time major winner is a huge doubt for the Masters at Augusta starting on 9 April with no indication forthcoming over his potential return to golf, despite Nike unveiling what he will wear during the tournament should he participate.
The Masters represents the first major where points towards securing the eight automatic berths for the Hazeltine match can be gained and Love says Woods remains confident of filling one of those places despite his current injury woes.
"He's expecting to make the team," Love told BBC Sport. "He and I keep in touch a lot more than we have. He still has a good attitude and is working hard. I spoke to a few people who tell me he's working very hard and is eager to get back. I suppose he has a plan for the Masters - we're hoping to see him back soon.
"He is anxious about getting back to playing so he can get some points for that, then he can think about Ryder Cup. I wouldn't count him out just yet."