Tiger Woods has announced that he will not return to competitive golf until “my game is tournament-ready”, although he indicated that this indefinite leave of absence could amount to as little as two weeks.
With rumours swirling around the game that Woods would be out for a protracted spell, the statement released on his website last night quashed the more apocalyptic rumours. Woods claimed that the back injury which forced last week’s withdrawal after 11 holes of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines was not connected with the spinal injury he underwent last March.
But with comments which suggest that he rushed his comeback from the microdiscoectomy, Woods vowed to ensure that he was able to compete before he is seen again on the professional fairways. Two weeks ago, Woods shot an 82 at the Waste Management Open in Phoenix, the worst score of his 19-year career.
“The last two weeks have been very disappointing to me, especially Torrey, because I never want to withdraw,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, lately injuries have made that happen too often.This latest injury is not related to my previous surgery. I am having daily physical therapy and I am feeling better every day.
“Right now, I need a lot of work on my game, and to still spend time with the people that are important to me. My play, and scores, are not acceptable for tournament golf. Like I’ve said, I enter a tournament to compete at the highest level, and when I think I’m ready, I’ll be back.
“Next week I will practise at Medalist and at home getting ready for the rest of the year. I am committed to getting back to the pinnacle of my game.
“I’d like to play The Honda Classic [in two weeks’ time] – it’s a tournament in my hometown and it’s important to me – but I won’t be there unless my game is tournament-ready. That’s not fair to anyone. I do, however, expect to be playing again very soon.”
Meanwhile, next Wednesday will witness the appointment of Europe’s captain to lead the Ryder Cup defence at Hazeltine in 18 months’ time.
Paul McGinley, the victorious captain at last year’s match at Gleneagles, will be one of the five-man panel who will basically choose between Darren Clarke and the Spaniard Miguel Ángel Jiménez, with the former an overwhelming favourite to earn the nod.
The two previous captains – Jose Maria Olazabal and Colin Montgomerie – will also be on the committee at Wentworth, which will be completed by the European Tour’s chief executive George O’Grady and the former Ryder Cup player David Howell.