BETHESDA, Md. – Tiger Woods doesn’t know if he’ll be 100 percent in time for the Open Championship, but he’ll be “good enough.”
Woods spoke to the media about his strained left elbow Wednesday at the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club. The defending champion and tournament host withdrew last week in order to rest the injury before he plays at Muirfield on July 18-21.
“I pushed it pretty good at the (U.S.) Open to play through it,” Woods said. “I made it worse by hitting the ball out of the rough, and it eventually got to the point where I wasn’t able to play here.”
Woods said he’s treating the injury with ice and anti-inflammatories. He hopes to soon start the strengthening process and soon after begin hitting balls again. Woods said he hasn’t touched a club since the final round at Merion.
The injury first occurred during Woods’ victory at the Players Championship in May, but doesn’t attribute his elbow strain to any particular shot at Sawgrass, though.
“It didn’t feel good then early in the week, but I pushed through it and it progressively just got worse,” said Woods, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.
After a disappointing showing at the Memorial Tournament, where he tied for 65th, Woods aggravated the injury at Merion, where he finished T-32 at 13 over.
While he doesn’t regret playing Memorial, he does admit that had he skipped the Dublin, Ohio, event, his elbow “would have been better.”
Now he’ll have a four-week break before he tests his elbow at Muirfield.
Woods said there’s a delicate balance between playing hurt and playing injured – “I’ve played a few events where I really shouldn’t have played and it caused some damage. . . . You can play hurt, but playing injured can sideline you for a while,” said Woods, who missed significant portions of the 2008 and ’11 seasons due to left knee and Achilles injuries.
It’s the third time since 2007 that Woods has missed his own event due to injury. He was unable to play in 2008 after having reconstructive surgery on his left knee. He also skipped the event in 2011 due to injuries to that same knee and his left Achilles tendon.
“It’s frustrating for me because I want to play,” Woods said. “I know how the golf course is set up now, too.”
Before the elbow injury, Woods, who also won the 2009 AT&T, was planning on defending his crown at Congressional. Now he’ll be playing the role of spectator, and will have to watch someone else hoist the trophy this year.