Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tiger On Hold -- Again

   If it's true that the knee and Achilles problems that will keep Tiger Woods away from the Wells Fargo Championship next week really aren't serious, then that's good news.

   Like him or not, no one should want to see Woods sidelined by an injury. Let's see him take his best shot at breaking Jack Nicklaus's major championship record. If he's good enough to do it -- I'm still in the camp that believes he'll get to 19 -- let's see it. But don't let him fail because he was hurt.

   Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, told me this is "very minor" and he's been wearing the protective boot as a precautionary measure. Until doctors suggested he do otherwise, Woods was intending to play in Charlotte next week.

   Woods hasn't always listened to his doctors. Remember he basically ignored his doctor when he won the U.S. Open on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008. Maybe at age 35, he's more willing to listen when doctors tell him to take it easy and get well first.

   There have been enough injury issues with Woods to wonder how much long-term effect they will have on him.

    At the Masters, Woods was asked -- for the millionth time -- about his latest swing change under coach Sean Foley. The question circled back to why Woods wouldn't go back to the swing that produced the Tiger Slam when he worked with Butch Harmon.

   For the first time I've heard, Woods said he can't physically make that swing any more because of his left knee. Part of the work he did with Hank Haney was to take pressure off his leg.

   This injury is the result of an awkward swing he took under the Eisenhower tree on the 17th hole in the third round of the Masters. He played the next day and shot 67 but his leg continued to hurt.

    Woods knows people are doubting him now. He's past the damage control portion in his personal life and he's trying to prove again that he can be the best golfer in the world. There were signs at Augusta that he was getting closer but he couldn't make any putts, a troublesome trend.

   He wants to play because he wants to win again. It's what drives him and if he takes a little extra satisfaction when he does win again, that's his prerogative. He wanted to return to Quail Hollow and atone for the missed cut and the second-round 79 he shot last year.

   But Tiger has been put on hold again. Hopefully, not for long.