Woods: “I’ll keep fighting”

Tiger Woods is not sure how long he’ll be out of golf, but he has a burning desire to prove his critics wrong.

Tiger Woods is not sure how long he’ll be out of golf, but he has a burning desire to prove his critics wrong.
“I’ve dealt with other things in my life where people said that I was pretty much done and I’ve come back,” the world number one told reporters at a news conference at the Aronimink Golf Club on Monday prior to having a scan on the neck injury which led to him quitting The Players Championship on Sunday.
Aronimink in Pennsylvania is where the AT&T National tournament he used to host is set to be played on July 1-4.
“So the whole idea is just to keep fighting every day. It’s all I can do.”
Missing the cut by eight shots two weeks ago and then struggling to 51st place before he retired at the weekend had people wondering how much of an impact his sex scandal was having on his career, as well as his private life.
But Woods, whose wife Elin is now thought to be seeking a divorce, turned the attention onto his physical state by retiring from golf’s richest event with 11 holes still to go.
First off, the World No 1 insisted that there was “zero connection” between the problem, which may be a bulging disc in his upper back, and the November 27 car crash which led to revelations about a series of affairs.
The pain, he said, had started a fortnight before he ended his five-month absence from the game with his appearance at The Masters a month ago.
Nobody watching on Sunday saw anything alarming, but Woods said: “Once it locked up I couldn’t actually turn going back and I couldn’t turn coming through.
“For me not to play all 18 holes left me as angry and as frustrated as I’ve been in a long time.
“I’ll have an MRI on it and see exactly what’s going on, why it’s behaving the way it’s behaving.
“It actually started bugging me two weeks before the Masters (just as he resumed serious practice) and it was just on and off.
“I thought it was just sore and no big deal, but as I kept playing and kept practising it never got better. It actually was getting worse.
“Now I’m at a point where I just can’t go any more.”
Asked if he was struggling mentally as well, he added: “It’s certainly not where I would like to have it, there’s no doubt.
“There’s a lot of things going on in my life right now. I’m just trying to get everything in a harmonious spot and that’s not easy to do.
“I’m also trying to make life changes as well and trying to do that under the microscope of everyone asking me and watching everything I do doesn’t make it easy.
“But I have just so many great friends and peers that have gone through things that I am going through and battling. That helps to be able to talk with them and share my feelings with them.”
As for his return to the game, Woods, who was speaking from the course in Pennsylvania where July’s AT&T National will take place, stated: “A lot is up in the air still, which I don’t like.
“I still need to go home and get a picture on this and see what’s going on.
“I’ll want to come back and obviously defend at Memorial and play the US Open (they are in the first and third weeks of next month), but I’ll have a lot more answers after I get the picture.”
On the subject of a swing which television commentator Johnny Miller is urging him to change, Woods said his aim was simple.
“Don’t hit it left and don’t hit it right,” he joked. “I’d also like to make more putts and shoot lower scores.
He then went on to talk about the work he was doing with swing coach Hank Haney, seemingly oblivious to the fact that just hours later Haney would issue a statement saying he was stopping working with Woods.
Tiger said: “I talked to Hank (coach Hank Haney) about some of this stuff and we are still working on it. Still got a lot of work to do and a lot of it is I can’t make the same moves as I could before because my neck is not allowing me to do that.
“I need to get organised. I need to get healthy in order for me to swing the club properly.
“Johnny Miller criticises everything I do.
“This is an injury that I know that can get really bad. I’ve had numerous friends who have had injuries in their necks and you just don’t want to mess with this.
“One of the reasons why I think this thing flared up is because I wasn’t conditioned to it. I had been away from the game for such a long time and came back and ramped up really quickly in order to try and play The Masters.
“The body wasn’t quite ready for that.
“But I made a swing change back in 1993 and I remember my first weekend playing the best score I came up with was 83. You’ve got to stay the course and it turned around.”