Former 2008 Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said Tiger Woods needs help so he would be able to deal with his growing problem.
Ever since his personal problems in 2009, Woods has not won any tournament and have been faced with swing changes and injury problems. He joined the Players Championship but limped sadly out of the game midway through the first round.
“This is career threatening stuff. It’s sad to see, I was very disappointed to see it,” Azinger told the Golf Channel. He was however confident that Woods can still come back and beat the 18 major triumphs’ record of Jack Nicklaus if only he would get help with his head, more than his knee.
“People ask me all the time if I think he can beat Jack’s record? I think if he replaced his knee he could still beat Jack’s record. I have that much confidence in him. My question is — does he have enough confidence in himself now? I think he is really worried about this one.”
Azinger said Woods needs help to piece his life together after his marriage broke down following a series of reported affairs.
“His world self-destructed. I think he needs help, whether it is professional help or really a good friend that he can communicate with. I know he is angry, he is angry at himself and he is angry at the world that tore him down, he is angry at a lot of people. He has got a lot of stuff going on in his head — he has physical issues and he is trying to make a swing change.
“Tiger needs to be able to have a shoulder to cry on to get over some of the things that have gone on in his life.”
Woods, a 14-time major winner limped off the TPC Sawgrass course after a 42 shot which was his worst nine. Woods should get help with his Achilles and knee problems before he even thinks about joining the US Open this June.
“If the limitations that Tiger is facing with his injuries are holding him back, then he needs to get those totally fixed and get back, and then he needs to come back and just take little steps to get back, because he knows how to win,” said Woods’ friend Mark O’Meara, who won the US Masters and the British Open in 1998.
O’Meara, who had a pre-tournament dinner with Woods Wednesday, said he does not believe that Woods is feeling the pressure of beating the record of Nicklaus but is afraid he may have lost some passion.
“Is the fire burning as bright as it once did? Maybe not. But that’s to be expected when you look at the intense pressure that this kid has lived under for the last 20 years of his life,” O’Meara said.
“Any athlete that’s under the scrutiny like he’s been under, there’s a little price you have to pay, and so it slowly erodes at maybe… no one can be inside his brain or his body and figure out where he’s at, but he needs to just get around his friends, keep practising, get healthy, and then I think he’ll be back where he wants to be.”