Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Crocked Tiger Woods to miss US Open for first time

Tiger Woods has appeared at every US Open since his debut in 1995
Tiger Woods has appeared at every US Open since his debut in 1995

Tiger Woods is out of next week's US Open — the first time he has missed the event since his 1995 debut.

The knee and Achilles injuries which forced him out of the Players Championship after just nine holes a month ago has led to his withdrawal from the second major of the season.

“I am extremely disappointed that I won't be playing in the US Open, but it's time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future,” he explained.

“I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed.

“I hope to be ready for the AT&T National (on June 30), the next two majors and the rest of the year.”

Woods was diagnosed with a Grade One mild medial collateral ligament sprain to his left knee and a mild strain to his left Achilles tendon suffered while hitting a second shot on the 17th hole during the third round at the Masters.

He was unable to play the Wells Fargo Championship and limped through nine holes in 42 shots — only one off his worst ever — before quitting at Sawgrass.

The last of Woods' 14 major victories came at the 2008 US Open despite a ruptured cruciate ligament in his knee and a double stress fracture of the left tibia, but was told then by doctors that playing in the tournament would not make his leg worse.

“It's been a frustrating and difficult year, but I'm committed to my long-term health,” Woods added.

“I want to thank the fans for their encouragement and support. I am truly grateful and will be back playing when I can.”

After that 2008 win Woods went in for immediate surgery and was out for eight months.

He missed the Open at Birkdale and US PGA at Oakland Hills as a result.

His next long lay-off, of course, came after his serial infidelity became public knowledge in November 2009 — and he has not won a tournament since.

Woods came fourth in the Masters and US Open last year and then repeated that back at Augusta in April, but he has now slumped to 15th in the world.

His former coach Butch Harmon said on watching him struggle so badly at the Players Championship: “I think his whole future is up in the air.

“Does this mean he needs more surgery? If he does, who knows what will happen?”

There now has to be a big question mark now over whether Woods will make the trip to Sandwich for the Open in July.

He will presumably take advice on whether it is in his best interests to fly to England and compete on a course with more humps and hollows than other Open venues.

The 35-year-old still needs four more majors to equal the record of 18 set by Jack Nicklaus.

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