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Woods withdraws from US Open

USGA
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Posted by Admin (IN) 08 Jun 2011


June 8th 2011, Maryland, U.S.A.: 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 led to his withdrawal from the second major of the season on Tuesday.

He told his official website www.tigerwoods.com: "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."

The former world number one's statement continued: "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 AT&T National (on June 30-July 3), the next two majors and the rest of the year."

Woods was diagnosed with a Grade 1 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?"

Woods painted a far more optimistic picture two weeks ago, saying about his chances of being fit for the US Open: "All my docs have said it should be ready to go by then.

"I've had four surgeries on it, so obviously it's not what it was when I was little, but it's certainly not the doomsday that some of the press are writing about.

"I was certainly a lot more concerned back in '08 - this one's a cakewalk compared to that."

Although the AT&T National is his new target date there has to be a big question mark now over whether he will make the trip to Sandwich for The Open on July 14-17.

Woods, fourth there in 2003 after losing a ball with his opening shot of the championship, 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.

Woods added on his Twitter site: "Not playing in US Open. Very disappointed. Short-term frustration for long-term gain."

The 35-year-old still needs four more majors to equal the record 18 of Jack Nicklaus and on that he said last month: "It's one of the things that drives me in this game. It took Jack 24 years (1962-1986) to do what he did.

"I still have plenty of time. I just want to be healthy and solid and I feel like I can give it a go."

Mike Davis, executive director of the United States Golf Association, said: "We're very disappointed that he won't be playing in the national Open.

"He certainly brings excitement to the event. He'll be missed, but the US Open will go on.

"The event is bigger than one player, but he certainly will be missed."

Next week's defending champion Graeme McDowell told Sky Sports News: "Of course it's a massive blow for the US Open - to not have one of the greatest players that's ever lived is massive.

"There have been question marks over his health for the last couple of months. When I saw him hobbling through the locker room at the Players Championship the warning signs were there.

"We all hope as golfers that his health can come back. We thought he'd be ready for the US Open.

"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.

"Golf needs him. His quest to beat Jack Nicklaus' record (of 18 majors) is one of the great golf stories and we hope he gets better soon.

"Whether he can get back to his best 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.

"He has been golf for the last 15 years and there's no doubt we need him back, but his mental health is one question and his physical health is now another.

"Will he be back? Nobody knows at the minute - there's obviously a lot going on.

"But whoever picks up that trophy next week there's not going to be an asterisk against the name saying Tiger Woods did not play. They will be a deserving champion."

The replacement for Woods is 23-year-old Texan amateur Michael Whitehead, who lost a three-man play-off for two spots at a qualifier in Dallas yesterday.

Dane Anders Hansen, joint runner-up in the Wales Open on Sunday, has also withdrawn because of injury. His place goes to American tour player Jason Dufner, who lost a two-man play-off in Georgia.

GOLF FLICKS

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