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Woods ready to break his silence

By Peter Hutcheom

Rory McIlroy is “sick” of hearing about Tiger Woods's private life and just wants to see him back playing golf soon.

The world number one is, at last, going to speak tomorrow, albeit only in a statement, and is expected to make his comeback next month.

Nothing has been heard or seen of Woods since his car crash in late November, which was swiftly followed by allegations of a string of affairs, an admission of “transgressions” and a decision to take an indefinite break.

“He's got to come back at some point,” said McIlroy after a thrilling victory from four down over American Kevin Na at the WGC-Accenture Match Play in Arizona.

“I mean, it just went on for so long I think. I'm sick of hearing about it.

“I'm just looking forward to when he's getting back on the golf course.”

The timing of Woods's announcement comes during the third day of the event in Tucson, an event backed by one of the companies who have axed him.

“I suppose he wanted to get something back at the sponsors,” added McIlroy.

A statement from Woods' manager Mark Steinberg released last night read: “Tiger Woods will be speaking to a small group of friends, colleagues and close associates at 11am (4pm GMT) at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

“Tiger plans to discuss his past and his future and he intends to apologise for his behaviour.

“This will not be an open media event. However, it is understood that there are many media who are interested in what he has to say.

“In order to accommodate as best we can, we are working to arrange pool coverage of Tiger's remarks.

“There will be network pool cameras providing coverage of his talk.

“The feed will be available live to any network or station that wishes to air it.

“A limited number of print and wire service reporters will be in attendance and will share their notes, colour and background on a pooled basis.”

On the course, McIlroy was out of sorts early on as he went four down to Na early on and was still two behind with four holes remaining, The fourth seed eagled the next and won on the final green as his little-known opponent, ranked 61st in the world, felt the heat.

McIlroy plays Oliver Wilson in today’s second round. The Englishman was a four and three winner over Miguel Angel Jimenez.

“Ollie's a great competitor, a Ryder Cup player and he's going to be very tough,” said McIlroy. “I definitely didn't make it easy for myself. I got off to a very slow start.

“I think I hung in well, but was pretty fortunate to get through and I'll need to play better if I want to progress into the latter stages.”

Both Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington crashed out at the first round stage — beaten by England’s Luke Donald and Indian Jeev Milkha Singh respectively.

McDowell, who prides himself on his match play, was deeply disappointed at another first round exit.

“The last two years I've run into a buzz-saw,” he said.

“Last year Zach Johnson made eight or nine birdies and Luke just putted the eyes out of it. Every time I smelt a chance he made a putt.

“It does not matter how well you play in this.

“If someone plays better you go home.”

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