Tiger Woods Says Neck Injury Unrelated to 2009 Accident; Schedule Unclear

Tiger Woods said the neck injury that forced him to withdraw from golf’s Players Championship began bothering him about two weeks before the Masters Tournament and is unrelated to his November car accident.

“I thought it was just sore, but as I kept playing and kept practicing it never got better,” Woods said during a news conference today outside Philadelphia. “It got worse. I’m at a point now where I just can’t go anymore.”

Woods, 34, said his future playing schedule is undecided and that he’ll have a scan to determine the cause and extent of the injury when he returns home to Orlando. Woods said yesterday that he might have a bulging disk.

Speaking today at a news conference promoting the U.S. PGA Tour’s AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, Woods said he thinks the injury occurred when he tried to return after his self-imposed hiatus from golf. He was away from the game for almost five months following an admission of marital infidelity that led to a rehabilitation stint and the loss of major sponsors.

“I was away from the game for a long time and then I ramped up really quickly to prepare for the Masters and the body wasn’t ready for that.” Woods said.

Asked if the injury might be related to his Nov. 27 accident, when he crashed into a fire hydrant outside his home, Woods said there’s “absolutely zero connection.”

Woods said he quit six holes into his final round at the Players Championship because muscle spasms prevented him from rotating back or through the ball. It was the first time he withdrew from a tournament since the 2006 Nissan Open, when he pulled out after two rounds because of the flu.

Return Unknown

Woods said he won’t know when he might return to competition until he gets the results of his scan back.

He said he had planned to defend his title at the Memorial Tournament from June 3-6 in Dublin, Ohio, before playing in the U.S. Open -- the season’s second major championship -- from June 17-20 in Pebble Beach, California. The AT&T National, which supporters his educational foundation, is scheduled for July 1-4 at Aronimink.

“A lot is up in the air still, which I don’t like,” said Woods, who has 14 major titles. “I want to play Memorial and the U.S. Open and play here, but a lot of that is still up in the air. I’ll have a lot more answers when I get the picture.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

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