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Golf

Tiger Woods 'not ready' to end 14-month absence from PGA Tour

The 40-year-old, who has won 14 career majors, underwent surgery last year to cure a recurring back issue. Although Woods says fitness is not the issue, many ex-professionals doubt whether he can regain peak condition.

Tiger Woods has abruptly postponed his comeback after 14 months out of the game.

Woods, who last competed in the a PGA Tour event in August 2015, cited form issues as the reason for withdrawing from scheduled appearances at the Safeway Open and at the Turkish Airlines Open. The Safeway Open has sold a bumper 28,000 tickets since the Californian announced his intention to compete.

"My health is good, and I feel strong," the 40-year-old said on his website. "But my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be.

"I spent a week with the US Ryder Cup Team, an honor and experience that inspired me even more to play. I practiced the last several days in California, but after a lot of hours, I knew I wasn't ready to compete against the best golfers in the world.

"After a lot of soul-searching and honest reflection, I know that I am not yet ready to play on the PGA Tour or compete in Turkey," said the former world number one.

Persistent back pain has troubled Woods since 2013 and he has undergone surgery twice in a bid to relieve the issue - the last time in October 2015. Woods' injury history has prompted many ex-golfers to voice their doubts over the durability of the veteran.

"What has happened to Tiger Woods is really the perfect storm of destruction for an athlete," said former PGA Tour winner Brandel Chamblee on the Golf Channel. "We've seen Tiger Woods' golf swing decay, his body decay and then his chipping decay.

"Once you've been visited upon by the yips, when you're chipping it just never goes away.

"There's nothing more exciting in golf, maybe in sports, than watching Tiger Woods, but there are too many hurdles to overcome. I just don't see (Woods) overcoming the yip."

Former PGA Tour champion Johnny Miller held back from writing off the 40-year-old entirely, but doesn't expect Woods to return to the peak of the sport. "Everyone expects him to come back and play like the year 2000, but that's just not going to happen," said Miller.

Rd/Mp (AFP, AP)

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