Just like that, Tiger Woods is gone from competitive golf. Four major titles short of Jack Nicklaus’ all-time mark of 18 major victories, Woods has officially taken a hiatus from the PGA Tour.
It’s not certain when the most recognizable athlete in the world will return to golf’s center stage. Infact, Woods may never return.
Rumors say that an ultimatum may have been issued by wife Elin Nordegren. (She allegedly told Tiger that he needs to choose between her or golf.)
With that in-mind, the No. 1 golfer in the world announced Friday afternoon on his website, that he intends to remove himself from golf to repair the damage caused by what he said was “infidelity”.
“I am deeply aware of the disappointment and hurt that my infidelity has caused to so many people, most of all my wife and children. I want to say again to everyone that I am profoundly sorry and that I ask forgiveness.” Woods said.
“It may not be possible to repair the damage I've done, but I want to do my best to try. I would like to ask everyone, including my fans, the good people at my foundation, business partners, the PGA Tour, and my fellow competitors, for their understanding. What's most important now is that my family has the time, privacy, and safe haven we will need for personal healing.”
Woods’ absence from golf is clearly a blow to the PGA Tour and commissioner Tim Finchem. In less than three weeks the 2010 season will tee off at the SBS Championship in Kapalua.
Woods statement didn’t indicate when he plans to return to golf. Regardless, Finchem is standing by Tiger’s decision.
"His priorities are where they need to be and we will continue to respect and honor his family's request for privacy," Finchem said. "We look forward to Tiger's return to the PGA Tour when he determines the time is right for him."
Without Tiger in the fold, 2010 could be the year for Phil Mickelson.
The world’s No. 2 ranked player finished ‘09 strong, with victories at the Tour Championship and in Shanghai at the HSBC Championship. There, Mickelson closed with a -3 under 69 to beat both Woods and Ernie Els.
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