Paul Azinger says Tiger Woods’s neck injury is a ‘serious issue’ as fears grow over 14-time major winner’s future

Paul Azinger says Tiger Woods's neck injury is a 'serious issue' as fears grow over 14-time major winner's future

“Hold your breath” – that is Paul Azinger’s advice to all Tiger Woods fans as they countdown to Thursday’s first round of The Players Championship.

The former US Ryder Cup captain has warned he feels Woods’ neck injury is “a serious issue” and that the game would receive confirmation of the news it dreads if he does not compete in the PGA Tour’s flagship event.

On Monday, Woods, who underwent three back surgeries before returning in stunning style last season, pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational which concludes in Orlando on Sunday. His camp suggested the 43-year-old was being “overly cautious” with The Players and the next month’s Masters in mind. But Azinger is worried that is an “overly positive” assessment.

“His neck issue, that’s a serious issue I feel,” Azinger said. “Because if your neck doesn’t flow the way you want, that’s trouble. I’m hoping he just didn’t want to take a chance, but we’ll know pretty quickly if he shows up at Sawgrass. That’s how we’ll know how serious it is. We’ll just hold our breath and hope he gets out there and plays.”

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