Tiger Woods is likely to miss the US Open, according to his close friend and former PGA Tour player, Notah Begay.
Begay, who now works for the Golf Channel, but was once a four time champion on the PGA Tour, is one of Woods’ closest friends as the pair were room-mates at college and he says that the 14-time major winner is unlikely to be lining up at the US Open on June 12th.
He is quoted as saying: “I’ve been in contact with Tiger this week. He missed being at Augusta and certainly was watching the tournament, (but) I think he needs to give (his back) a minimum of 90 days to make sure that scar tissue heals up appropriately and he doesn’t run the risk of re-injuring it. So that would push him past the US Open.”
Woods' initial statement, after undergoing the operation on March 31st said the world number one would be back playing in a few weeks.
That initial assessment did seem overly optimistic at the time it was released. Indeed, the same injury – a pinned nerve in the back – has kept other golfers out for over a year.
If the world number one is to miss the second major of the year, it puts his chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major titles in further jeopardy. Woods is currently four titles behind Nicklaus and has not won one since 2008.
Furthermore, he has failed to show any signs of regaining the sort of form that saw him establish himself as one of the greatest players to ever play the game since his well-documented off-the-field issues.
Begay also hinted that Woods is beginning to start to consider his future in the sport.
“It’s certainly not a big secret. It’s not something that he’s trying to ignore. He realises that he’s approaching 40,” he said to reporters.
Woods was last seen on a golf course at the World Golf Championships, at the start of March, where he finished in 25th position. He has only played in two other PGA tour events this season, too, due to his on-going problems with his back.
His absence was certainly felt last week’s US Masters – the first time he has missed the competition since turning professional - with viewing figures on the opening day the lowest they have been since ESPN started covering the event back in 2008. As such, most within golf will be hoping that Woods returns sooner rather than later.
If his absence is prolonged then there could be fears that Woods could miss the Ryder Cup, too, which takes place in September.
Woods, though, has publically stated he is aiming for a return to golf this summer and if he is to meet his target the next time we see the 39-year-old hitting a golf ball could be at Hoylake, at the Open Championship, in the middle of July.
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