Tiger’s not out of woods yet

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This week, the PGA Tour pitches its tent just 20 minutes from his South Florida home for the Honda Classic but, to no-one’s surprise, the deadline for commitments came and went on Friday night without Tiger’s name being added to the list.

The Woods camp have never been forthcoming at the best of times and now, during the worst, they have shut down all forms of communication completely.

When Mark Steinberg, Woods’s manager, was contacted on Friday by a golf writer working for ESPN who is well known to Tiger, it still didn’t elicit an update on how his rehab is going, much less any projection as to when he might start playing again.

There has been a news blackout since early December, when Woods gave a press conference at the tournament he hosts, the Hero World Challenge.

‘There has been no timetable for this and the hardest mindset adjustment is that I don’t know,’ he said at the time. ‘Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know.’

Given the serious nature of the surgeries he has had on his back, the smart money remains on a comeback after all the majors have come and gone this year — at best.

To recap, he had a major back operation 19 months ago and admitted in the middle of last season that it had taken him a year to get over it. Since then, he has had the same surgery performed twice more in the same area to alleviate disc issues. It’s hardly going to be a quick fix, is it?

Woods last played in the middle of August at the Wyndham Championship, where he was joint leader after 36 holes before eventually finishing tied for 10th.

It looked as if he was on the way back after a wretched 2015 to that point but a few days later he was back under the knife.

The man who spent more than 13 years of his storied career as world No 1 has fallen so far he will probably be outside the top 450 when the latest table is released tomorrow.

In Los Angeles, at the Northern Trust Open, Rory McIlroy reached the halfway stage just four shots off the pace following a second-round 69.

It left him in a tie for seventh place, with Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson the two most notable names ahead of him.

World No 3 McIlroy had the chance to close the gap on No 1 Jordan Spieth after the American missed the cut in spectacular fashion.

The 22-year-old hit an eight-over 79 in his first round before improving with a 68 on Friday. Still, he was four shots off making the cut.

Spieth retreated to his Texas home for a week off but promised: ‘I’ll be ready to play like I know I can at my next tournament at Doral.’

As for the English quartet who made the cut, Justin Rose headed into the weekend tied for 15th, with Luke Donald tied 38th and Andy Sullivan and Paul Casey tied 62nd. – Mail On Sunday


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