Rory McIlroy believes thoughts of Tiger Woods resuming his career following his horrifying car accident should not be "even on the map at this point".
Woods underwent surgery on significant injuries to his right leg after the single-vehicle accident in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.
A statement on his website said the 15-time major winner was "responsive and recovering in his hospital room" following the operation where open fractures to his tibia and fibula and further injuries to his foot and ankle were stabilised with the insertion of a rod, screws and pins.
The severity of the injuries has inevitability raised questions about whether Woods will be able to return to competitive action, but McIlroy's concerns lay elsewhere.
Asked if Woods, who was already sidelined following a fifth back operation, could recover, McIlroy said: "He's not Superman, he's a human being at the end of the day and he's already been through so much so at this stage everyone should just be grateful that he's here, he's alive, that his kids haven't lost their dad.
"That's the most important thing. Golf is so far from the equation right now. It's not even on the map at this point.
"I think we're all sort of heading towards that day that Tiger wasn't going to be a part of the game. I'm not saying that that was soon. Before this accident, he was rehabbing a back injury and hopefully going to come back and play this year.
"Hopefully he comes back and is able to play, but if he's not, I think he'll still be a part of the game in some way, whether it's obviously his design business and his foundation and hosting golf tournaments.
"It might be the end of seeing the genius at work with a club in his hand, but there's still a lot of other ways that he can affect the game in a great way."
Nick Faldo is hoping Woods can find a way "to rebuild himself" after the crash.
Woods, 45, was extricated from the wreck in Los Angeles on Tuesday and had an operation where open fractures to his tibia and fibula and injuries to his foot and ankle were stabilised with the insertion of a rod, screws and pins.
There is speculation his golfing career is in jeopardy, with leading sport surgeon Professor Bill Ribbans saying he's at "the beginning of a long road".
Faldo offered his thoughts and prayers to Woods on Wednesday but admitted he'd be amazed to see him return to elite professional golf.
"If he does come back to be a golfer again then I think that would be quite extraordinary," the six-time major winner Faldo said.
The Englishman added that he thought Woods would first have to focus on rebuilding his body and that playing competitively "is possibly a long way down the line".
Faldo said Woods's age made it even more difficult.
"It's tough enough playing at 45 when you're playing against kids that are 25," Faldo told CBS. "But after going through this, all we can do is pray for him and hope that he finds a way to rebuild himself."
Meanwhile world number one Dustin Johnson hopes Woods can complete a "Ben Hogan-style" comeback.
Hogan recovered from a near-fatal crash with a Greyhound bus in 1949 to win six of his nine major titles, including all three he could contest in 1953.
Woods has undergone surgery after suffering significant leg injuries in a single-vehicle accident in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning.
Johnson wrote on Twitter: "Hate to see the news about Tiger. Wishing him a quick recovery and a Ben Hogan style comeback. If anyone can do it, it's TW."
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the WGC-Workday Championship, Johnson added: "It's a terrible situation, you never want anything bad to happen to people and obviously hoping for a speedy recovery.
"He's such a big part of the PGA Tour and what it's become today. Once he's not playing any more the game will miss him but I feel like he will always somehow be around, at least for a little while.
"Prayers go out to him and his family and hopefully everything works out."