Wednesday, April 2

Tiger Still Eyeing Jack and Sam

Tiger Woods (Allison)
IT WAS THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YESTERDAY'S otherwise distressing statement at TigerWoods.com. Tiger Woods is still focused on two golf milestones set by two golf legends.

"It's tough right now," Woods said, "but I'm absolutely optimistic about the future.

"There are a couple [of] records by two outstanding individuals and players that I hope one day to break. As I've said many times, Sam [Snead] and Jack [Nicklaus] reached their milestones over an entire career. I plan to have a lot of years left in mine."

The "absolutely optimistic" camp is growing smaller after Tiger had "a successful microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve that has been hurting him for several months." The surgery was performed by Dr. Charles Rich, a neurosurgeon in Park City, Utah.

"Out of Reach" said Sports Illustrated/Golf+Digitial about the chase to catch Jack Nicklaus. "What Now?" asked Golf Digest. "Can Tiger Still Catch Jack?" asked GolfChannel.com.

Woods will miss the Masters as he begins a healing and rehabilitation process that's intended to get him back into action this summer. We'll see about that. If all goes well, Tiger could begin chipping and putting in a few weeks.

The 14-time major winner had played in 19 consecutive Masters, slipping into the Green Jacket four times, but not since 2005. Another Masters will go by with no chance of a fifth victory and 15th major. Sore back or not, that has to hurt.

"I'd like to express my disappointment to the Augusta National membership, staff, volunteers and patrons that I will not be at the Masters," Woods said. "It's a week that's very special to me.

"I'd also like to thank the fans for their support and concern. It's very kind and greatly appreciated. This is frustrating, but it's something my doctors advised me to do for my immediate and long-term health."

As has been the case for several years, we're left with more questions than answers when it comes to Tiger Woods.

How will this latest injury and surgery affect Tiger's golf game and competitiveness?

When will Tiger return to tournament play?

When will Tiger win another major?

Will Tiger win another major?

Is Jack's record of 18 professional majors now out of reach for Tiger?

As Tiger sits at home, rests, heals and rehabs, the golf and sports media will be frantically churning out answers and opinions to fill a large and ongoing void.

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