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Tiger Woods' Withdrawal From The Players Leaves Opening for Phil Mickelson

Kathy BissellCorrespondent IMay 9, 2010

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - MAY 09:  Tiger Woods looks on from the second green during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship held at THE PLAYERS Stadium course at TPC Sawgrass on May 9, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

When Tiger Woods WD-ed from The Players the first thing that came to mind was the legendary writer Jim Murray’s old column from the 1991 LA Open.

In it , Murray wrote an open letter to Fred Couples about how he wasn’t hostile and enough of a jerk on the golf course.

Murray wrote:

“Just remember, Weiskopf once got flu in the sandtrap on No. 2 at Riviera. I think he was lying four at the time and was looking at a double or triple bogey. That'll give you flu every time. Double-bogeys are a leading cause of flu on the tour. Tommy just walked out of the trap and into his car and out of there. A 'WD' is a sure cure for flu. Your grandmother can tell you that…”

The problem now is nobody knows whether to believe what Tiger Woods said a couple of days ago, that he was 100 percent, or what he says now, that he has a neck injury.

A bulging disk. We are left to wonder.

What we do know, as one member of the media quipped around 1 pm, Tiger has done his part, so now it’s up to Phil Mickelson to see if he can win and take the No. 1 spot.

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He cannot overtake Woods this week unless he wins. There were several comments from members of the media saying they did not know if they could pick up the phone or reach their keyboards to write, given their neck pain.

What that likely meant was that it had been a pain in the neck keeping up with the continuing saga of Tiger Woods. Today, with the WD in progress, we could not get into the media center without picking our way through the shrubs and pine straw surrounding the media center building which is adjacent to the therapy trucks.

Woods did play through the seventh green. He was two-over-par for six holes when he left the golf course.

This is his round prior to the WD:

He was in the left rough on the first hole, hit the green in two and two-putted for par.

On two, he was in the right fairway, hit his second to short of the green, front right. He chipped and two-putted for a par.

At the par-three third, he hit the green in regulation and three-putted for bogey.

At the fourth, he was in the fairway with his tee shot, hit the green in regulation, and two-putted for par.

On the fifth, he hit his tee shot into the water on the right, dropped by the fairway bunker, and hit his third shot poorly, beyond the green to the left, chipped up, and made bogey with the penalty stroke.

At six, he was in the left rough at the edge of the fairway, was short of the green in two, chipped, and putted for par.

The seventh was where it ended for Woods this Sunday.

He hit a drive right of the bunkers on the right, was short of the green again with his second. He picked up his ball and left the golf course.

One cannot discount the stress of the last six months as causing the injury, if there is one. We just don’t know.

What we do know is that the Tiger Woods we were used to seeing play golf is not back yet.

His knee may be 100 percent, but the rest of him isn’t.

Yet.

The guessing game continues.

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