PLAYERS: Tiger Woods talks about neck injury

Tiger Woods prepares to catch a ball tossed by his caddied on the second day of competition of the WGC-Mexico Championship golf tournament at the Chapultepec Golf Club in Mexico City. Woods says a sore neck that

We’ll have to wait to find out if Tiger Woods will play the Valspar Championship

"It's not painful now", Woods said.

The 43-year-old set off the alarm bells when he withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which he has won eight times. "It was getting to the point where [the neck strain] was affecting my set-up, my backswing, my through swing". I think he is just playing very steady and is sure to get a win sometime very soon. That's because my lower back is fused.

"I think it would fit", he said.

The two-time Players champion arrives in Ponte Vedra, Fla., for just his fourth start of the season. "So, I've tried to play more in the conservative side to try and put it in play, even though I'm a little further back".

Justin Thomas was also involved at the top of the leaderboard until he found the water with his tee shot at the sixth and carded a double-bogey.

Woods said he first felt the pain at the Genesis Open at Riviera a month ago but it got increasingly worse the following week at the WGC Mexico Championship. And with just two made cuts in five visits to TPC Sawgrass, it seems unlikely he busts out of his slump this week.

Killen is best known as the short game coach of Justin Thomas and has also worked with other Americans JB Holmes, Kenny Perry, Nick Watney and Bud Cauley.

"It's not great mentally to come back from an injury so your confidence is hit a little bit, but overall I feel good about".

Although it doesn't appear to be a permanent relationship, it's the first time Woods has worked with a coach of any sort since parting with Chris Como in 2017. He had no chance to get it close, so Woods played safely into the center of the green to try to avoid double bogey. The week-long event is one big party at TPC Sawgrass and has a "who's who" of previous winners, and has a serious lineage of former winners; including Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler all succeeding in the past 10-15 years.

It all starts to unfold today, with only 23 players having experienced the March conditions before the move to May in 2007.

Koepka enters the week still confident off his two major championship wins a year ago.

From the "In Your Life!" chip at the Masters, to the "Better Than Most!" putt on the island green 17th here at the TPC Sawgrass, Woods has always found the magic.

"I've played well here in the past and if I drive it well that's a massive key for me".

The legendary island green is daunting to look at and can be very hard to hit (well, for us amateurs, at least), as many pros do find the water more often than they'd like. He used a variety of excuses, such as pros were coming in for practice and that a rare egg was found in the hole location and they were working to remove it safely. Among them, only Tiger Woods with wins in 2001 and 2013 is competing this weekend. It's one of the courses that's the ultimate test in golf. Especially by Saturday, you can pretty much nearly predict who is going to be there come Sunday. At his Tuesday news conference at THE PLAYERS, he insisted he is ready to go.

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