(Reuters) - Tiger Woods did not express confidence about being 100 percent fit for next month’s British Open but said on Wednesday his injured left elbow would be “good enough” for the year’s third major championship.
The American world number one has been hampered by a left elbow strain for the past six weeks, and was advised by his doctors to skip this week’s AT&T National in Bethesda, Maryland where he was scheduled to defend his title.
Woods aggravated the problem earlier this month during the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club, and was seen wincing and shaking his left arm on several occasions after playing golf shots out of the thick rough.
“I pushed it pretty good at the (U.S.) Open,” Woods told reporters at Congressional Country Club on Wednesday. “Made it worse by hitting the ball out of the rough and eventually got to a point where I wasn’t able to play here.
“I listened to my docs and I’m not touching a club. We’re treating it, and eventually I’ll start the strengthening process of it, then start hitting balls to get up to speed for the British.”
Asked whether the elbow would be fully healed in time for the July 18-21 British Open at Muirfield in Scotland, Woods replied: “How about ... good enough.”
A 14-times major champion who has not won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods first suffered the elbow injury during last month’s Players Championship at the TPC Sawgrass where he eventually triumphed by two strokes.
“It didn’t feel good then early in the week, but I pushed through it,” he recalled. “It progressively just got worse. Got to a point where I was starting to struggle a little bit.”
Woods’ victory at the Players Championship gave him his fourth PGA Tour win of the season in just seven starts but he has since battled into a tie for 65th place at the Memorial Tournament and joint 32nd at the U.S. Open.
He was a five-times winner at the Memorial where he was the defending champion but struggled with his putting on the way to an eight-over total of 296, the second-highest score of his professional career.
His highest in a 72-hole event was 298 at the 2010 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
“It was nice to have a four-week break before the (British) Open,” Woods said. “Unfortunately, this tournament is in that four-week gap. It’s tough.”
Woods was at Congressional Country Club on Wednesday to attend the opening ceremonies of the AT&T National, a PGA Tour event which benefits his Tiger Woods Foundation. The tournament starts on Thursday.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue