Tiger Woods' neck injury isn't his biggest worry

Tiger Woods' neck injury isn't his biggest worry

Tiger Woods' neck injury isn't his biggest worry

Woods withdrew from last week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, in the latest fitness setback to have dogged this phase of his career.

"It's not painful now", Woods said. I was just plodding along and just kind of getting around.

Tiger Woods insists his preparation is on track for next month's Masters despite a neck injury interrupting his schedule leading up to the Augusta National major. That's because my lower back is fused.

"I've got to keep that moving, even though it's fixed. As long as he wants to play, he's going to do everything he can to get back".

Golf's strongest field will tee off on a slightly different TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course and kickoff golf's championship season at THE PLAYERS Championship. He's finished inside the top 20 in each of his previous starts despite a troublesome putter.

"I've played three tournaments this year so far and that's about right", he added. Part of that, he said, was due to the neck problems.

"I've played three tournaments this year so far, and that's about right; I was [only ever] going to play three or four [before the Players]", two-time Players champion Woods said. "It just made it worse".

Woods has a history of playing through injuries, including when he won the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Killen, who lives near Woods in Florida, works with a number of other PGA Tour players, including Justin Thomas and J.B. Holmes, and is familiar with Woods' stroke.

Asked specifically about Match Play, Woods said, "If nothing flares up, then I'll play". "I think for [Woods] it lasted three days, so going into it you're like, well, OK, hopefully mine takes a little bit longer to last".

Woods played between five and six times before the Masters during younger and healthier times over the last 15 years. That's followed by the Dell Technologies Match Play, a World Golf Championship for which he had not been eligible since 2014. If Woods can participate in THE PLAYERS this is a good sign he will be active at the Masters.

The tournament had a March date until 2007 when it was moved to May. He also finished runner-up in his Valspar debut past year. Woods says TPC Sawgrass in March is a much different beast than the May version. That's probably the biggest difference. These are all things that are a little bit more hard as you progress in age, and these are the challenges I'm going to be facing going forward.

To illustrate the distance difference, Woods noted that past year he hit a three-iron and a nine-iron to reach the 18th green on Sunday.

Here are the key lines from the Woods press conference on Tuesday.

"It's a very simple formula here", stated Woods.

Woods will try to do exactly that and join Jack Nicklaus as the only three-time winners of The Players.

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