Mar 26, 2014

    Woods eyes Augusta, bad back permitting


    TIGER Woods said that it is too early to tell whether his baulky back will allow him to play in the Masters next month, an uncertainty that could delay his attempt to end a drought without a major title that is approaching six years.

    "For Augusta, it's actually still a little too soon, to be honest with you," Woods said during a news conference following the announcement of Quicken Loans as a new sponsor for his PGA Tour event, currently held at Bethesda's Congressional Country Club.

    "That's kind of the frustrating thing about this. I've had a couple of weeks off, and getting treatment, and just working on trying to get ready for Augusta.

    "Right now, it's still too soon, which is, as I said, very frustrating."

    Woods' last tournament concluded on March 9 at Doral, where the wear on his back was apparent during a final-round 78 that left him tied for 25th.

    He has played just four tournaments this year, withdrawing during the final round of the Honda Classic on March 2, and he was unable to play in the Arnold Palmer Invitational this past week in Orlando.

    Woods said he has not been able to hit balls as he allows his back to heal.

    "I've been chipping and putting at home," Woods said. "That's it. I haven't done that much. Just listening to my doctors, listening to my therapists."

    Woods said he could play in and contend at the Masters without normal preparation, citing the 2008 US Open - his last major title - as an example.

    That year, he had knee surgery following the Masters, and played nine holes for the first time on the Sunday before the first round of the Open. In that truncated practice round, he said he lost seven balls.

    "I was thinking, 'Oh, I don't know how I'm actually going to pull this off'," Woods said.

    "So I've done it before. Hopefully, that'll be the case again this year."