Ryder Cup rookie Wood gutted hero Tiger is delaying return

Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:17pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

WATFORD, England (Reuters) - Ryder Cup rookie Chris Wood is gutted his hero Tiger Woods has scrapped plans to make a comeback this week, calling it a blow to the European Tour as well as to the millions of golf fans around the world.

Fourteen-times major champion Woods announced on Monday that his game was not sharp enough for him to compete in the PGA Tour event starting in Napa, California, on Thursday or at next month's Turkish Airlines Open.

The 40-year-old American has been sidelined for 14 months because of back-related injuries.

"It would have been great for the European Tour for him to play in Turkey," Wood told a news conference on Tuesday ahead of this week's British Masters on the outskirts of London.

"There would have been that buzz of Tiger's back ... and he's playing on the European Tour so it is really disappointing for myself as a golf fan ... because he was my golfing hero.

"He won the U.S. Masters when I was 10 years old. From that point on he's the only guy I've ever looked up to."

Wood won this year's BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the European Tour's flagship event, and he was asked if he felt the former world number one's playing days had come to an end.

"I don't think he'll ever say it's over," said the 28-year-old Briton. "But you never know with Tiger.   Continued...

Team USA vice-captain Tiger Woods talk at the 13th green during the practice round for the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota, September 28, 2016.  Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports/File photo