Good News For Tiger, Not So Good News For His Players Rivals

The news is good for Tiger Woods meaning it is no good news for his Players Championship rivals.

The neck injury that ruled Woods out of last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and the 80-time PGA Tour winner is raring to take his place this week in an vent he’s won twice before.

Woods had to undergo on-course treatment three weeks ago at the WGC – Mexico Championship and while he was not going to contest the following week’s Honda Classic it came as a surprise when he withdrew from ‘Arnie’s event’.

And in attending a pre-Players press conference Woods revealed his neck had been hurting the week prior the Mexico Championship and in contesting the week prior at his sponsored Genesis Open in L.A.

“It’s not painful now but it was getting to the point where it was affecting my setup, my backswing, my through swing,” said Woods.

Tiger Woods in good spirts ahead of this week’s Players Championship (Photo – PGA Tour)

“It started a little bit at L.A. but wasn’t a worry. But it started to get a little tighter and tighter and tighter as I played more holes in Mexico.

“It was just gradually getting worse. That’s just because my lower back is fused, and so the stress has to go somewhere if I don’t have movement, and so it’s very important for me going forward since the surgery to keep pliable or else the stress is going to go somewhere else.”

But in easing immediate concern Woods indicated he was no so confident of suffering resultant lower back pain going forward.

“It’s more so just my lower back and I’ve got to keep that moving, even though it’s fixed,” he said.

“I’ve got to keep all the other structures pliable, and that’s one of the issues of having a procedure like I did, that the forces have to go somewhere. I’ve got to stay fit, I’ve got to stay on it, and have to stay as loose as I possibly can for as long as I play out here”.

Woods, and now back to No. 12 in the world, was also quizzed if he now felt a ‘playing timeline’ he set himself a decade ago could be extended so that the golf world will see the current 14-time Majo winner playing well into his ‘50s.

“Well let’s just kind of slow down on that one,” he said smiling broadly.

“Let’s just see how it goes. I still don’t know how long I’ll be able to play out here, but I’m still, I’m enjoying the fact that I’m able to play again and to be able to compete.

“After what I’ve gone through and to be able to be do this and have a chance to do this again and be as consistent as I have been is something that I’m very lucky to have.”

Woods confirmed he has employed a new putting coach in Matt Killen, who he was first introduced to by Justin Thomas who has long worked with Killen.

“I’ve seen Matt work out here a lot and the past year because he works with ‘JT’ (Thomas) a lot, and I’ve played — geez, I’ve played a lot of rounds with JT, either practice rounds here or at home, and Matt has seen my stroke enough,” said Woods.

“I wanted him to take a look at it and see what he thought of where my setup looked like now versus all the times that I’ve putted well and I’ve putted well with different postures throughout my career.

“I’ve done different things and I wanted him to have — I wanted him to take a look at it, and then he mentioned a few things.

“As I’ve started to feel a little bit better this week or this past week, then the putting definitely freed up.”

It is the first occasion Woods has had a coach of any sort since he and Chris Como parted in late 2017.

Woods returns to this week’s host TPC Sawgrass and the only player in the 144-player field, featuring the world’s top-50, to have won the event both in March and in May.

The Players for 30-years straight was held a fortnight prior to the Masters but in 2007 moved to May but the PGA Championship this year moving from August to May, the Players moved back to March.


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