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Woods on mend, no timetable for return

Los Angeles (AFP) – Tiger Woods is happy with the pace of his recovery from back surgery but does not know when he will be fit to tee off again in a competitive tournament.

The 14-time major winner has not played since undergoing two procedures on his back in September and October last year.

The 40-year-old former world number one fuelled speculation about a comeback after registering for the US Open in June, before playing a few holes at Bluejack National Golf Club in Texas on Monday.

Woods played five holes with friend Mark O’Meara at the course on Monday, the first time he has played since his most recent back procedure in October.

Speaking after the fleeting course workout on Monday, Woods said he felt “a little tired but pretty good”.

Woods, however, said while he was frustrated not to be able to set a target date for his return, he had progressed further in his recovery than he had expected.

“I haven’t set any date to when I’m playing again, which is frustrating to say,” he said.

“But to be honest with you, that’s what I’ve had to do. I’ve had to go with that mindset.

“Would I have said that five months ago? No way. I couldn’t imagine then feeling like I do right now.”

“Keep improving. Keep getting better. Keep making progress. And I’m doing that.”

Agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN on Monday that Woods’s registration for the US Open at Oakmont Country Club was “simply procedural”.

“No reason to read anything into this,” Steinberg was quoted as saying.

Woods also registered to play in the US Open last year before backing out.

Earlier this month he ruled himself out of the Masters at Augusta, saying that while he had begun hitting balls again, he would not be fully fit for the tournament.

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Woods on mend, no timetable for return

Schwartzel latest major winner to skip Olympics

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa has opted out of this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, joining a fast-growing list of elite players that also includes compatriot Louis Oosthuizen.

Schwartzel’s decision has been announced by team captain Gary Player who said it weakened the country’s chances of a medal in Brazil.

“I am sad and disappointed that several top players have withdrawn from the Olympic Games in Rio,” Player said in a statement.

“I was sorry to hear that Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have withdrawn their names from consideration.

“I would have given anything to play in the Olympics. South Africa had a great team, but now obviously, it will not be as good.”

Former Open winner Oosthuizen, 33, pulled out last week citing family commitments and a taxing schedule.

No reason was given for the withdrawal of Schwartzel, who has worked his way back up to 20th in the world rankings.

Golf returns to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, but its inclusion has been questioned by Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser who criticized compatriot Adam Scott’s decision to skip the Rio Games.

Fiji’s former world number one Vijay Singh has also opted out of the event.

The Rio Olympics take place from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21, with the men’s golf tournament ending Aug. 14.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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Schwartzel latest major winner to skip Olympics

Golf-Schwartzel latest major winner to skip Olympics

CAPE TOWN, April 26 (Reuters) – Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa has opted out of this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, joining a fast-growing list of elite players that also includes compatriot Louis Oosthuizen.

Schwartzel’s decision has been announced by team captain Gary Player who said it weakened the country’s chances of a medal in Brazil.

“I am sad and disappointed that several top players have withdrawn from the Olympic Games in Rio,” Player said in a statement.

“I was sorry to hear that Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have withdrawn their names from consideration.

“I would have given anything to play in the Olympics. South Africa had a great team, but now obviously, it will not be as good.”

Former Open winner Oosthuizen, 33, pulled out last week citing family commitments and a taxing schedule.

No reason was given for the withdrawal of Schwartzel, who has worked his way back up to 20th in the world rankings.

Golf returns to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, but its inclusion has been questioned by Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser who criticised compatriot Adam Scott’s decision to skip the Rio Games.

Fiji’s former world number one Vijay Singh has also opted out of the event.

The Rio Olympics take place from Aug. 5 to Aug. 21, with the men’s golf tournament ending Aug. 14. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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Golf-Schwartzel latest major winner to skip Olympics

Tiger registers for US Open but return date still unknown

(Reuters) – Tiger Woods has registered to play in June’s U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania but has not set a timetable for his return to the PGA Tour.

The United States Golf Association confirmed on Monday that Woods, who has not competed since last August while recovering from back surgeries, registered for the year’s second major on April 4, well ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

While the 14-times major winner has registered for the June 16-19 U.S. Open, there is no guarantee he will be at Oakmont, one of the most difficult courses on tour.

Last year, the former world number one also registered to play at the U.S. Open but backed out after saying he was not fully recovered from back surgery.

Speculation, however, has been mounting that the three-times U.S. Open champion could make his PGA Tour return within the next month.

There have been multiple media reports that the 40-year-old American has been ramping up his practice routine while at home in Florida and could make a return to the PGA Tour as early as May 5-8 Wells Fargo Championship.

Woods has not won a major title since he clinched the 14th of his career at the 2008 U.S. Open and his form has slipped dramatically in recent years due to injuries and the mastering of a new swing.

His top-10 finish at the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship in August, following a dismal 2014-15 season in which he missed three cuts in the majors, gave him encouragement before his health again intervened.

Three weeks later, he had a second microdiscectomy surgery to alleviate pressure on a disc in his lower back, before needing another procedure on Oct. 28 on the same area.

Woods’ world ranking has plummeted to 486th and earlier this month he missed the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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Tiger registers for US Open but return date still unknown

Woods feels ‘nice and smooth’ after first holes of the year

(Reuters) – Tiger Woods played his first stretch of golf holes since last August on Monday at a course opening in Montgomery, Texas to fuel speculations that he could return soon.

Woods was present for the opening of Bluejack National Golf Course, which he helped design.

The former world number one warmed up in front of a crowd, hit a ceremonial tee shot and then played a few holes with longtime friend and fellow Major champion Mark O’Meara.

“I haven’t been out here playing like this. I hadn’t played any holes until today,” Woods told reporters.

“I know people have said I’ve played holes back at Medalist, but I haven’t. This is actually the first time I’ve played holes since Wyndham. It’s been a while.”

Woods, 40, last competed at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina last August before back surgeries ended his year.

Woods’ world ranking has plummeted to 499 and earlier this month he missed the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995. Multiple videos of the 14-times Major champion hitting golf balls have surfaced this year and Monday’s short round showed further improvement.

“I’m just progressing,” he said. “You saw how I was going at it today, nice and smooth. That’s harder than I have been going at it the last month. Just gradually progressing. We’re just trying to progress and I’m doing that.”

The Golf Channel reported that Woods could compete at the Wells Fargo Championship early next month but Woods and his team have maintained there is no planned return date.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Charaborty)

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Woods feels ‘nice and smooth’ after first holes of the year

Golf-Woods feels ‘nice and smooth’ after first holes of the year

April 25 (Reuters) – Tiger Woods played his first stretch of golf holes since last August on Monday at a course opening in Montgomery, Texas to fuel speculations that he could return soon.

Woods was present for the opening of Bluejack National Golf Course, which he helped design.

The former world number one warmed up in front of a crowd, hit a ceremonial tee shot and then played a few holes with longtime friend and fellow Major champion Mark O’Meara.

“I haven’t been out here playing like this. I hadn’t played any holes until today,” Woods told reporters.

“I know people have said I’ve played holes back at Medalist, but I haven’t. This is actually the first time I’ve played holes since Wyndham. It’s been a while.”

Woods, 40, last competed at the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina last August before back surgeries ended his year.

Woods’ world ranking has plummeted to 499 and earlier this month he missed the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995.

Multiple videos of the 14-times Major champion hitting golf balls have surfaced this year and Monday’s short round showed further improvement.

“I’m just progressing,” he said. “You saw how I was going at it today, nice and smooth. That’s harder than I have been going at it the last month. Just gradually progressing. We’re just trying to progress and I’m doing that.”

The Golf Channel reported that Woods could compete at the Wells Fargo Championship early next month but Woods and his team have maintained there is no planned return date. (Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; editing by Amlan Charaborty)

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Golf-Woods feels ‘nice and smooth’ after first holes of the year

Schwartzel skipping Olympics

Johannesburg (AFP) – South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel has joined compatriot Louis Oosthuizen in deciding to skip this year’s Olympics, team captain Gary Player said in a statement on Monday.

Just days after Oosthuizen added his name to a lengthening list of golfers who have opted to give the Rio de Janeiro games a miss, world number 20 Schwartzel has followed suit.

South African legend Player, who will captain his country’s golfers at the Olympics, where golf is returning after a 112-year absence, revealed Schwartzel’s decision in a statement released via his Twitter account.

“I am sad and disappointed that several top players have withdrawn from the Olympic Games in Rio,” Player wrote.

“I was sorry to hear that Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have withdrawn their names from consideration.

“I would have given anything to play in the Olympics. South Africa had a great team, but now obviously, it will not be as good.”

Oosthuizen confirmed his decision to skip Rio last week, saying he had pulled out after “family and schedule issues”.

Fellow major winner Adam Scott of Australia also pulled out last week, citing “an extremely busy playing schedule around the time of the Olympics”.

Scott’s decision was greeted with a chorus of criticism in his homeland, with Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser leading the catcalls.

“Well done Adam great to put your country on hold so that you can fulfil your own schedule,” Fraser said.

Player meanwhile said modern players should give back to golf by playing in the Olympics.

“Players today make so much and should be giving back,” Player wrote.

“The Olympics is one way they can do that since there is no prize money. Golf is one of the most popular sports in the world and our best players should be showcased on the biggest stage in sports.”

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Schwartzel skipping Olympics

Woods registers for US Open

Los Angeles (AFP) – Former world number one Tiger Woods has registered to play in the US Open in June, the US Golf Association confirmed on Monday.

Woods had until Wednesday’s deadline to register for the tournament, which takes place at Oakmont Country Club this year, but completed his registration three weeks ago.

The 40-year-old has not played at all this year since undergoing two procedures on his back in 2015.

Woods’s agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN that the 14-time major winner’s registration for the tournament was “simply procedural.”

“No reason to read anything into this,” Steinberg was quoted as saying.

Woods also registered to play in the US Open last year before backing out after failing to fully recover from back surgery.

Earlier this month he ruled himself out of the Masters at Augusta, saying that while he had begun hitting balls again, he would not be fully fit for the tournament.

“I’ve been hitting balls and training daily, but I’m not physically ready,” Woods said in a statement.

“I’ve said all along that this time I need to be cautious and do what’s best for my long-term health and career… I’m absolutely making progress, and I’m really happy with how far I’ve come, but I still have no timetable to return to competitive golf.”

The Golf Channel last week reported Woods was eyeing a possible return at the May 5-8 Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte or The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass on May 12-15.

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Woods registers for US Open

Golf-Tiger registers for US Open but return date still unknown

(Reuters) – Tiger Woods has registered to play in June’s U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania but has not set a timetable for his return to the PGA Tour.

The United States Golf Association confirmed on Monday that Woods, who has not competed since last August while recovering from back surgeries, registered for the year’s second major on April 4, well ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

While the 14-times major winner has registered for the June 16-19 U.S. Open, there is no guarantee he will be at Oakmont, one of the most difficult courses on tour.

Last year, the former world number one also registered to play at the U.S. Open but backed out after saying he was not fully recovered from back surgery.

Speculation, however, has been mounting that the three-times U.S. Open champion could make his PGA Tour return within the next month.

There have been multiple media reports that the 40-year-old American has been ramping up his practice routine while at home in Florida and could make a return to the PGA Tour as early as May 5-8 Wells Fargo Championship.

Woods has not won a major title since he clinched the 14th of his career at the 2008 U.S. Open and his form has slipped dramatically in recent years due to injuries and the mastering of a new swing.

His top-10 finish at the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship in August, following a dismal 2014-15 season in which he missed three cuts in the majors, gave him encouragement before his health again intervened.

Three weeks later, he had a second microdiscectomy surgery to alleviate pressure on a disc in his lower back, before needing another procedure on Oct. 28 on the same area.

Woods’ world ranking has plummeted to 486th and earlier this month he missed the Masters for only the second time since his tournament debut in 1995.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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Golf-Tiger registers for US Open but return date still unknown

Rory McIlroy to play French Open instead of Bridgestone

LONDON (Reuters) – Rory McIlroy will play at this year’s French Open rather than the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, saying it will serve as better preparation for the British Open at Troon.

Four-time major winner McIlroy won Bridgestone in Akron, Ohio two years ago and the event is one of the most prestigious on the PGA Tour. But this year it clashes with the 100th French Open after schedules were tweaked to accommodate the Rio Olympics.

The Paris event, played on the course that will host the 2018 Ryder Cup, begins on June 30, two weeks before the year’s third major on Scotland’s west coast.

“Le Golf National might not be a pure links course, but it is traditionally firm and fast and can throw up some tricky conditions,” said McIlroy, 26, a native of Northern Ireland.

“It is a great test of golf and I think playing there, as well as staying in Europe, will be the best way to prepare for The Open at Troon.”

The European Tour decided not to sanction this year’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, meaning prize money earned in it by European players will not count towards the Race to Dubai or selection for this year’s Ryder Cup.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Rory McIlroy to play French Open instead of Bridgestone

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