Tiger Woods made headlines for all the wrong reasons earlier this week, when he announced that he had to withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational because of a lingering neck strain.
At the time of his announcement, Woods said he hopes to play in next week’s Players Championship, but the strain “hasn’t improved enough to play” at Bay Hill.
Earlier this week, Rory McIlory admitted that he saw Woods receiving treatment in Mexico, where Woods finished T10.
Despite Woods’s seemingly strong finish through the discomfort, alarm bells are ringing for NBC and Golf Channel analyst Paul Azinger.
“His neck issue, that’s a serious issue I feel,” Azinger said on Friday at Bay Hill, when he and Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay chatted with the media. “Because if your neck doesn’t flow the way you want, that’s trouble.”
Regarding Woods’s performance in Mexico, Azinger was skeptical that Woods was operating on all cylinders.
“It looked like the whole (swing motion) wasn’t all going together,” he said. “You could see he was trying to save his swing, and it could have been that his neck wasn’t right. You get in there and your head’s in a spot and you rotate up and he looked like he was (protecting himself). You can’t play with that.”
Like most Tiger fans, Azinger is hopeful that Tiger will tee it at TPC Sawgrass next week.
“He’s the most interesting guy by far who plays the game,” Azinger said. “The Tour is a two-pony show. Tiger is one pony and the rest are the other pony. Not to take anything away from those guys; they’d probably admit it, too. I think he’s a living, breathing, walking miracle.”