The unofficial "fifth major" returns to the March schedule for the first time since 2007 due to the PGA Championship's rearrangement to May and has now become the largest purse in professional golf. It was getting to the point where it was affecting my set-up, my backswing, it was just gradually getting worse and that's just because my lower back is fused, ' he said.
I've got to keep all the other structures pliable, and that's one of the issues of having a procedure like I did, that the forces have to go somewhere. "I have to stay fit and I have to stay as loose as I possibly can for as long as I play out here".
Woods always planned to contest six US PGA Tour events - including this week's elite Players Championship - between January and the Masters but skipping the Palmer event means he will likely play five.
"It's about trying to manage what I have. I wasn't going to back away from that flag", he later told AP.
"I don't know which way the wind's supposed to blow from, but it will definitely make this golf course a lot more hard", he added. However, his last outing at The Honda Classic - a tournament that he has performed strongly in over the years - resulted in a MC, yet this could have given him the extra preparation time required for this week. "I think it's going to require some really good driving and some really good irons". It was starting to affect every aspect of his golf game.
Woods still fancies his chances of challenging for the title
ROCCO MEDIATE: I can't wait for them to have a day where it's 45 degrees and blowing. "We are going to move forward in a way that is going to be good for the game and certainly is going to get us to the right place over time with these new rules". Just plodding along and just kind of getting around. He's also a great weekend player, when the pressure is truly on, scoring under par in all third and fourth rounds in his last 10 Tour appearances. "I had to shut it down to get ready for this week".
With the neck corrected, Woods also wanted to ensure his stroke was in order and had short-game coach Matt Killen working with him.
"I had four (cortisone) injections around the spine and that alleviated a lot of the pain". It's a massive key around here and then I started picking a few shots up. He says it started to bother him a little at Riviera, and then more the following week in Mexico City. So familiar with his heroics were we, that when he missed an important putt it caused us to double-take.
"You can only swing or make the movement as good as your body's feeling".
Woods has officially teed off three times in 2019 taking part in the Farmers Insurance Open, Genesis Open and WGC-Mexico Championship.
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