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Monday 25 September 2017

Tiger vows to silence critics

Woods resolves to come back stronger after neck injury

Tiger Woods does not yet know how long he will be out of golf again, but says one thing is certain -- he wants to prove his critics wrong once more.

"I've dealt with other things in my life where people said that I was pretty much done and come back," said the world number one prior to having a scan on the neck injury which led to him quitting The Players Championship on Sunday.

"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.

Nobody watching at the time saw anything alarming, but Woods said yesterday: "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, that was 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. 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."

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."

GET HEALTHY

"I need to get organised. I need to get healthy in order for me to swing the club properly."

Meanwhile, Woods will have to work on his game without longtime swing coach Hank Haney, who stepped aside as his coach last night. Haney said that he enjoyed working with Woods but he thinks it's time for him to step aside as his coach.

"I will always look back upon our past half-dozen years together as my best days in professional golf," Haney said. "Just so there is no confusion I would like to make it clear that this is my decision.

For now, Woods' schedule is "up in the air" and likely will be shaped based on what the MRI reveals. He was noncommittal about playing the US Open on June 17-20.

"I'm trying everything I can to get back as soon as I can," he said.

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