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Timeline: Look back at Woods' injuries

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 30, 2017, 9:30 pm

While compiling the greatest career record of his generation, Tiger Woods has been no stranger spending time on the sideline because of injury. Here's a look back at some of the ailments that have caused Woods to miss time during his career:

December 2002: Woods has surgery to remove fluid from around the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of his left knee. The surgery sidelines him a few weeks, but Woods wins in his first start back at the 2003 Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines.

April 2008: Shortly after a runner-up finish at the Masters, Woods has arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage to his left knee. Weeks later it is revealed that the then-two-time U.S. Open champ has a pair of stress fractures in his left tibia.

June 2008: After playing through pain to claim the U.S. Open title at Torrey Pines, Woods has reconstructive surgery on the ACL in his left knee. During the surgery, further cartilage damage is repaired, and Woods does not return to action for nearly nine months, losing to Tim Clark in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in February 2009 in his first start back.

May 2010: After missing the cut the week prior at the Wells Fargo Championship, Woods withdraws during the final round of The Players Championship, citing what he believes to be a potential bulging disk. 'I've been playing with a bad neck for quite a while,' he tells reporters. The injury was later diagnosed as an inflamed facet joint in his neck. Woods does not miss a start, tying for 19th in his next appearance at The Memorial Tournament the following month.

April 2011: Woods announces that he will withdraw from the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship due to a 'minor' injury to his left knee and Achilles' tendon, one that he claimed to have suffered at the Masters earlier in the month. 'This is precautionary,' Woods' agent tells reporters. 'We're not at all concerned.'

May 2011: In his first start since his most recent injury announcement, Woods abruptly withdraws from the Players Championship after nine holes, exiting early from TPC Sawgrass for the second consecutive year. 'The knee acted up and then the Achilles' followed after that,' he tells reporters. The injury is later diagnosed as both a sprain of the MCL ligament in his left knee and a strain to the left Achilles' tendon, and Woods ultimately misses three months of action, including both the U.S. Open and British Open. He ties for 37th in his return at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August.

March 2012: Woods withdraws with seven holes left in his final round at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, citing an injury to his left Achilles' tendon. 'In the past, I may have tried to continue to play, but this time, I decided to do what I thought was necessary.' The injury does not sideline him long, as Woods wins just two weeks later in his first start back at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

June 2013: After a T-32 finish at the U.S. Open, Woods announces he will miss the upcoming AT&T National due to a left elbow strain. 'I have been advised to take a few weeks off, rest and undergo treatment,' he says in a statement. It marks the third time he has missed the event because of injury in its seven-year history, and Woods confirms that he intends to return at the British Open in July.

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March 2014: Woods withdraws on the 13th green in the final round of the Honda Classic, citing lower back spasms. Woods shot 5-over 40 on the front nine. Woods said after the round that it was too soon to tell his status for next week's WGC-Cadillac. Woods’ spokesman, Glenn Greenspan, said that the world No. 1 had experienced discomfort during warm-ups and that the issue was similar to what Woods experienced during last year’s Barclays, when he fell to his knees in pain during the final round en route to a runner-up finish.

April 2014: Woods announces that he will miss the Masters for the first time in his pro career. He also revealed that he recently underwent surgery for a pinched nerve in his back and that he hoped to return to the PGA Tour “sometime this summer.”

August 2014: Woods withdraws on the ninth hole of the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, citing lower back pain. The injury stemmed from an awkward lie on the second hole that sent Woods back into a fairway bunker after impact. “Just jarred it," he said, "and it’s been spasming ever since.” This was his third tournament since returning from surgery in March, and he played his first eight holes 3 over. When asked about his prognosis for the upcoming PGA Championship, Woods said, “I don’t know. Just trying to get out of here.”

February 2015: In his second start of the year, Woods walks off after completing 11 holes of his opening round at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a back injury. Woods explained that the injury stemmed from enduring multiple fog delays before the start of his round, and that he was unable to keep his glutes "activated." "My glutes are just shutting off," he said. "Then they don't activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back."

September 2015: After showing signs of improvement in his final start of the season at the Wyndham Championship, Woods on Sept. 18 announces that he has undergone a second microdisectomy surgery two days prior to remove a disc fragment that was pinching his nerve. "This is certainly disappointing, but I'm a fighter," Woods said in a statement. "I've been told I can make a full recovery, and I have no doubt that I will." Woods says the surgery will cause him to miss the Frys.com Open, Bridgestone America's Golf Cup and his own Hero World Challenge. He further states he hopes to return "early in 2016."

October 2015: Woods announces on his website that he has undergone a "successful" procedure as a follow-up to his latest back surgery. Intended to "relieve discomfort," the procedure was performed in Park City, Utah, by the same neurosurgeon who performed Woods' microdiscectomy surgery on Sept. 16. "It's one of those things that had to be done," Woods says. "I have an outstanding team of doctors, and I'll be back as soon as I can." There is still no timetable for his return to the PGA Tour.

April 2016: Woods, who hasn't played competitively since Fall 2015 surgeries, announces that he will miss the Masters for the second time in three years. "After assessing the present condition of my back, and consulting with my medical team, I've decided it's prudent to miss this year's Masters," he said in a statement on his website. "I've been hitting balls and training daily, but I'm not physically ready. I've said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what's best for my long-term health and career. Unfortunately, playing Augusta next week wouldn't be the right decision. I'm absolutely making progress, and I'm really happy with how far I've come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf."

September 2016: Woods announces in a statement that he "hopes" to return to competition at the Safeway Open, Oct. 13-16, the 2016-17 PGA Tour season-opener. The statement said he "intends" to also play the Turkish Airlines Open in November and his Hero World Challenge in December. “My rehabilitation is to the point where I’m comfortbale making plans, but I still have work to do,” he said in the statement released on his website. “Whether I can play depends on my continued progress and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go.”

October 2016: After committing to the Safeway Open three days prior, Tiger Woods officially withdraws on Oct. 10. He says in a statement, “My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.” He also said he will not compete in November's Turkish Airlines Open, but hopes to return at the Hero World Challenge in December.

February 2017: Woods withdraws from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic before the start of his second round. Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, cites back spasms as the reason. Woods said he was feeling no pain following his first-round 77.

February 2017: Woods announces that he will not compete in the Genesis Open nor the Honda Classic, two of four events in a five-week stretch in which he planned to play to start the year.

March 2017: Woods misses the Arnold Palmer Invitational as he continues to recover from back spasms. Woods later says Woods said alcohol was not involved and he had "an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications."

March 2017: Woods says he is not "tournament ready" and misses the Masters for the third time in four years.

April 2017: Woods announces on his website that he has undergone "successful back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain in his back and leg." The announcement explains that "Woods' bottom lower-back disc severely narrowed, causing sciatica and severe back and leg pain. ... The surgery entailed removing the damaged disc and re-elevating the collapsed disc space to normal levels. This allows the one vertebrae to heal to the other. The goal is to relieve the pressure on the nerve and to give the nerve the best chance of healing. The operation was performed by Dr. Richard Guyer of the Center for Disc Replacement at the Texas Back Institute."

May 2017: Woods is arrested in Jupiter, Fla., on suspicion of driving under the influence. Woods later says alcohol was not involved and he had "an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications."

July 2017: Woods tweets that he "recently completed an out of state private intensive program," as he continues to seek professional help following his arrest for DUI on May 29. "I will continue to tackle this going forward with my doctors, family and friends," the statement continues. "I am so very thankful for all the support I've received."

October 28, 2017: Woods pleads guilty to reckless driving and enters a diversion program. He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay a $250 fine and court costs.

October 30, 2017: Woods announces he will make his first competitive start in nine months at the Hero World Challenge.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.