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PGA Golf

Agent: Timing of Tiger Woods’ return ‘not dependent on health’

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Tiger Woods announced on Wednesday via his official website that he was taking a break from competitive golf, writing his recent play is “not acceptable for tournament golf.”

His agent, Mark Steinberg expanded upon Woods’ relatively brief and somewhat vague statement that he would again play in tournaments “when I think I’m ready” by saying a lot but not revealing much to the Golf Channel, probably how Woods wants it.

One thing Steinberg said is that the timing of Woods’ return is “not dependent on health right now,” and echoed the golfer’s comments that the injury that caused him to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open last week was not related to his back surgery last year and that subsequent examination revealed nothing that is a source of concern.

Steinberg said that it is important for Woods to work on his golf game away from competition.

“It’s having the time to focus on the game in an uninterrupted way” he said. “Doing it in the public spotlight, understandably so, it’s not the most conducive.”

Woods intends to travel to Colorado to support girlfriend Lindsey Vonn as she competes World Alpine Ski Championships and then begin work on Monday when he returns to South Florida. Some have already questioned Woods’ commitment to cleaning up his game given his decision, but the golfer noted previously that he has sought more balance in his life of late, indicating that his priorities have changed somewhat as he’s gotten older.

Woods’ case of yips has been the source of much scrutiny over the past few weeks during a horrid stretch of golf where he missed the cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open after carding a career-worst round of 82 and his subsequent withdrawal at Torrey Pines. In other words, there’s nowhere to go but up for Woods. But how much improvement he’ll need to see before he’s comfortable competing again in a tournament remains to be seen.

“He wants to play right now, to be honest with you,” Steinberg said. “He’s chomping at the bit. Honestly, he competes to compete at the absolute highest level. Clearly these last two events weren’t up to that. When that swing gets grooved he’ll be ready to go.”

(photo credit: Scott Halleran/Getty Images)