Woods plans speedy return as injury fear allayed

Tiger Woods hopes to return to action next week after being told he has only a mild strain of his Achilles tendon.

The former world No 1 pulled out of the WGC-Cadillac Championship in mid-round on Sunday, raising fears that he might miss next month’s Masters for the first time in his career.

“Got good news from doc tonight,” said Woods on his Twitter site. “Only mild strain of left Achilles. Can resume hitting balls late in week and hopeful for next week.”

Woods has entered the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, intending to make it his final warm-up for the opening Major of the year.

Woods played 11 holes in three over par — and without a single birdie — and withdrew after hitting a drive down the long 12th at Doral.

He had changed to softer shoes at the turn, but was visibly limping after he hit his second shot into the lake on the 10th.

“I felt tightness in my left Achilles when warming up this morning,” he said in a statement later. “It felt progressively worse throughout the day. After hitting my tee shot at 12 I decided it was necessary to withdraw.

“In the past I may have tried to continue to play, but this time I decided to do what I thought was necessary.

“I will get my Achilles evaluated sometime early next week.”

Woods managed fourth place in The Masters last April despite injuring both his knee and his Achilles playing a shot from under a tree late in the third round.

He tried to return at the Players Championship a month later, but played nine holes in a six-over-par 42 and walked in.

Woods missed the US Open and British Open after that, not returning until August.

The 36-year-old, who also missed the last two Majors of 2008 following reconstructive knee surgery, had his first win for over two years at the limited-field Chevron World Challenge in California in December and two weeks ago was second to Ireland’s Rory McIlroy at the Honda Classic following a closing round of 62.


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