Woods says no connection between accident and neck injury

By Associated PressMay 10, 2010, 10:41 pm

NEWTOWN SQUARE, Penn. – Tiger Woods insists there’s “zero connection” between the neck spasms playing havoc with his golf swing and his Nov. 27 car accident.

Woods said during a news conference Monday that his neck started bothering him two weeks before the Masters, his first competition in five months. He brushed it off as “no big deal” and believed he could play through the pain. That changed on Sunday at The Players Championship, where Woods’ creaky neck locked up. That prevented him from making his usual forceful turn on the ball on even a routine shot, and he was forced to withdraw after six holes.

“I’m at a point now where I just can’t go anymore,” he said.

“I want to practice, I want to play, I want to compete, but this is not allowing me to do the things that I need to do on my golf swing to hit the proper shots. I need to get to where I can do that again.”

Woods said he’s been taking anti-inflammatory drugs, but they have not helped. He plans to have an MRI when he returns to Orlando, Fla.

Tiger Woods grimaceIn November, Woods was briefly hospitalized after he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree outside his home, resulting in a sore neck and a cut lip.

On Monday, Woods insisted he can deal with the sharp, shooting pain, which he feels in the right side of his neck, but cannot deal with the spasms that affect his ability to turn his head.

“For me not to play all 18 holes, that was as angry and as frustrated as I’ve been in a long time,” Woods said of Sunday’s abbreviated round. It was his first withdrawal from a tournament since the Nissan Open at Riviera in 2006.

Woods said it wasn’t until this weekend that he felt he needed more serious treatment.

“It’s possible one of the reasons I think this thing flared up is because I wasn’t conditioned to it,” he said. “I’d been away from the game for such a long time, then came back and ramped up really quickly in order to try and play the Masters. The body wasn’t quite ready for that.”

After tying for fourth in the Masters, Woods looked lost on the course as he missed the cut at Quail Hollow on April 30 with the highest 36-hole score of his career.

Woods has played little like the golfer who collected his 82nd title worldwide in Australia six months ago, just before his personal life became a national punchline.

“I think it’s just once I’m able to do the work on the range and get comfortable, then all shots are fine,” he said. “But I need to do the work.”

Woods will have to work on his game without longtime swing coach Hank Haney, who stepped aside as his coach Monday night. Haney said in a statement to the Golf Channel that he enjoyed working with Woods but he thinks it’s time for him to step aside as his coach.

“I will always look back upon our past half-dozen years together as my best days in professional golf,” Haney said. “It would be a dream of any coach to have a student like Tiger Woods and for me it has come true. Just so there is no confusion I would like to make it clear that this is my decision.

“I know Tiger Woods will be successful in the future no matter who helps him.”

There had been speculation at last weekend’s The Players Championship that he was about to leave Haney, his swing coach since 2004. But Woods said during the news conference that he was working with Haney on his swing.

For now, Woods’ schedule is “up in the air” and likely will be shaped based on what the MRI reveals.

Woods was noncommittal about playing the U.S. Open on June 17-20.

“I’m trying everything I can to get back as soon as I can,” he said.

Woods was in suburban Philadelphia to promote the AT&T National July 1-4. He is the defending champion in the tournament, which has moved to Newtown Square for two years. He also wants to defend his title at the Memorial Tournament the first weekend in June. If Woods feels healthy and gets good news on his MRI, he expects to compete in both events.

“I am committed,” he said. “Unfortunately I haven’t been able to practice like I want to, spend the hours that I used to to get better. And hopefully I can do that, soon.”

Getty Images

Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

Getty Images

Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

Getty Images

Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

Getty Images

Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: