Mild injury has Woods hopeful for Palmer event

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Mild injury has Woods hopeful for Palmer event

MIAMI - Tiger Woods said on Monday that he has suffered only a mild strain on his left Achilles tendon and that he is hopeful of playing in next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational as planned.

Woods withdrew from the World Golf Championships event in Doral, Florida, on Sunday after hitting his tee shot on the 12th hole, complaining of tightness in his left Achilles tendon, the same one he hurt at last year’s Masters tournament.

After a physician examined Woods on Monday, the former world No. 1 reported the progress on his Twitter.

“Got good news from doc tonight. Only mild strain of left Achilles,” Woods posted. “Can resume hitting balls late in week and hopeful for next week.”

Woods had planned to play in next week’s PGA event at Bay Hill in Florida as his final tune-up for the year’s first major, the Masters, which tees off on April 5 at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

Woods’ latest injury scare has the golf world wondering if the 14-time major champion will ever win again, much less challenge the all-time record of 18 major titles won by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods has not won an official event on any tour since the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, 2009, just before the revelations of a secret sex life that led to his divorce from now ex-wife Elin Nordegren.

For the fourth time in five years, Woods faces a major setback to his season, having battled through a left knee injury in 2008, knee and tendon pain last year and the aftermath of his sex scandal in 2010.

Woods has undergone four operations on his left knee, including reconstructive surgery after he limped through a playoff to win the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in California, his most recent major triumph.

The biggest concern about the timing of the health scare is that the Masters, the one major Woods has never missed since his 1995 debut there as an amateur, is at risk.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, a solid favorite at the Masters with or without Woods in the field, hopes to see Woods among the pine trees at Augusta.

“It’s probably just precautionary but I really hope he’s ready for the Masters,” McIlroy said on Sunday. “It’s a shame because he looked like he was coming out this year swinging it really well, playing good, getting himself into contention.” AFP

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