Defending champion Graeme McDowell admits there is doubt over Tiger Woods’ career after he was forced to pull out of the US Open at Congressional, Sky Sports reported Wednesday.
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Woods will miss the event for the first time since making his debut back in 1995, with knee and Achilles injuries still troubling him.
The former world number one won the event in 2008 almost on one leg with the original serious knee injury, but this time he has decided not to risk further injury and to suffer "short-term frustration for long-term gain."
With his well-publicized personal problems starting his downward spiral and now injuries to go along with troubling swing changes, many fear that golf will never see the real Woods again.
McDowell admits that not having Woods in the field at Congressional, Bethesda, Md., will be a huge blow, saying that Woods’ future is a concern.
"Of course it’s a massive blow for the US Open — to not have one of the greatest players that’s ever lived is massive," McDowell said.
"There have been question marks over his health for the last couple of months. When I saw him hobbling through the locker room at the Players Championship the warning signs were there. We all hope as golfers that his health can come back. We thought he’d be ready for the US Open."
He added, "Tiger plays his cards close to his chest and it’s pretty difficult to know what’s going on, but obviously this is a lot more serious than we thought. His quest to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record is one of the great golf stories and we hope he gets better soon."
Woods is now down to 15th in the world rankings and missing more majors will only see him tumble further downwards.
McDowell admits that whether he can get back to his best is a huge question with both his personal and physical problems to deal with.
"That is the question," he added. "We all look at the way his last couple of years have gone and now there are questions over his physical health. Will he be back? Nobody knows at the minute — there’s obviously a lot going on. His mental health is one question and his physical health is now another."
"Golf needs him. He has been golf for the last 15 years," he added.