Sports / Golf

It is a case of wait and see about Woods' Masters chase

By Agencies in Washington (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-26 08:34

Tiger Woods is still no closer to knowing whether he will be able to play in next month's Masters as he struggles with back pain.

The world No 1 withdrew from last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational in Florida because of his aching back and remains unsure if he will be fit for this year's first major, starting on April 10 at Augusta National.

"For Augusta, it is actually a little too soon to be honest with you," he told reporters on Monday at a sponsorship announcement for the AT&T National.

Woods has been plagued by back problems since last year but his condition worsened over the past month.

The 38-year-old American failed to finish the Honda Classic at Palm Beach Gardens earlier this month, quitting after 13 holes in his final round.

Then he tweaked his back again on the last day at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami a week later, tumbling out of contention with a final-round 78 to finish tied for 25th.

He then pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, a tournament he has won eight times, including 2012 and 2013, in the hope that he could play at the Masters but is no closer to knowing whether he will make it to the first tee.

"That is kind of the frustrating thing about this," he said. "I have had a couple weeks off getting treatment, just working on trying to get ready for Augusta. As of right now, it is still too soon. As I said, it is very frustrating."

Although Woods has missed two British Opens, one US Open and one PGA Championship since 2008, he has never missed the Masters since he made his debut at Augusta National as an amateur in 1995.

He has won the tournament four times, in 1997, 2001, 2002 and 2005, but has not won any major titles since 2008.

Woods spoke in Washington just down the street from the US Capitol and White House to announce a new sponsor for his charity foundation's US PGA Tour event at nearby Congressional Country Club.

In a putting contest with members of the military, Woods missed on three attempts, a poor omen for the undulating greens of Augusta National where precise putting is always at a premium.

Congressional Country Club members have until the end of the month to submit votes on whether or not to continue hosting the US PGA National in even-numbered years.

Woods says he is looking at other area courses that could serve as host of the event in odd-numbered years starting in 2015, with potentially more events if Congressional turns down any host role after this year.

"This event was started in DC and we would like to keep it here," Woods said.

(China Daily 03/26/2014 page23)

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