BETHESDA, Md. >> Tiger Woods can’t say whether his left elbow will be fully healed in time for the British Open, only that it will be “good enough.”
Woods returned to the AT&T National on Wednesday as the defending champion only in name.
Doctors have recommended that he sit out this week at Congressional, along with next week at The Greenbrier, because of a left elbow strain that has been bothering him for more a month and was made worse by hacking out of the dense U.S. Open rough at Merion.
“I pushed it pretty good at the Open to play it and to play through it,” Woods said. “Made it worse by hitting the ball out of the rough, and eventually got a point where I wasn’t able to play here. We’re treating it, and eventually I’ll start the strengthening process, then start hitting balls to get up to speed for the British.”
The British Open is July 18-21 at Muirfield, and Woods could not say that he would be at 100 percent by then.
“How about … good enough,” he said.
There was no visible evidence of an elbow injury until he began dangling his left arm and flexing his wrist after hitting out of the rough at Merion in the opening round. He eventually said he first hurt it during The Players Championship, which he won on May 12, but he did not mention a specific shot or even a round.
On Wednesday, he said it wasn’t a single shot.
“It was just playing there, and it didn’t feel good then early in the week, but I pushed through it,” Woods said. “It progressively just got worse. Got to a point where I was starting to struggle a little bit.”
Woods still played the Memorial in the month between The Players Championship and the U.S. Open, which he conceded might have been a mistake. Woods was the defending champion and a five-time winner at Muirfield Village, so it was shocking when he turned in a 44 on the back nine — the highest 9-hole score of his PGA Tour career — and wound up 20 shots out of the lead. That was his largest deficit in a full-field tournament.
Asked if he should have sat out the Memorial, Woods said, “It would have been better, yes.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily say regret,” Woods said. “I wish I would have played better so I didn’t have so many shots I had to hit.”