McDowell hopes for a fit Tiger

Graeme McDowell believes that the golfing world “needs” Tiger Woods.

Graeme McDowell believes that the golfing world “needs” Tiger Woods.

After hearing that Woods will not participate in the US Open next week, defending champion Graeme McDowell described it as a “massive blow”.

“We all hope as golfers that his health can come back,” he added.

“Golf needs him. He has been golf for the last 15 years.”

McDowell is as uncertain as anyone as to what the future may hold for the former undisputed king of golf.

Asked whether Woods, now down to 15th in the world rankings, still had it in him to come back and return to his former glory, he said: “That is the question. We all look at the way his last couple of years have gone and now there are questions over his physical health.

“Will he be back? Nobody knows at the minute – there’s obviously a lot going on. His mental health is one question and his physical health is now another.”

With his US Open ommission confirmed, attention will not turn to whether the 35-year-old can be fit enough to to travel to Royal St George’s for the Open on July 14-17.

“When I saw him hobbling through the locker room at the Players Championship the warning signs were there, but we thought he’d be ready for the US Open,” McDowell added.

“Tiger plays his cards close to his chest and it’s pretty difficult to know what’s going on, but obviously this is a lot more serious than we thought.

“His quest to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record is one of the great golf stories and we hope he gets better soon.”