Woods must regain health and confidence: Duval

Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:04am EST
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By Andrew Both

(Reuters) - Former world number one David Duval is not ready to write off Tiger Woods, but he knows from personal experience how difficult it is to play hurt and without confidence.

Duval, in his new role as a Golf Channel analyst, will be among those closely following the progress of the 14-times major champion who will make his season debut at next week's Waste Management Phoenix Open after an injury-hit 2014.

Duval, the 2001 British Open champion whose career was curtailed by a bad back, believes it is hard to overestimate the toll that a loss of confidence can take on a golfer.

"Through everything I went through I realized the most important thing to protect as a golfer is your confidence and your arrogance, for want of a better word," Duval told Reuters.

"You need to have 100 percent belief in what you're doing and think you're bulletproof out there."

Woods, 39, has not won a major since 2008 and will have to buck history if he is to match or better Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 major titles.

He was limited to nine tournaments last year due to back issues that required surgery in late March and kept him from competing in the year's first two majors.

"Last year was a lost year basically that was detrimental to (Woods's) health, detrimental to his swing, and detrimental to confidence," Duval said.   Continued...

Tiger Woods of the U.S. hits from a sand trap on the 12th hole during the second round of the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, August 8, 2014. REUTERS/John Sommers II