Problems mounting for injured Woods as swing coach departs

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The Independent Online

It gets worse for Tiger Woods. Yesterday his swing coach, Hank Haney, announced his intention to relinquish the role.

The pair's partnership has come under scrutiny as Woods has struggled with his swing since returning from his self-imposed absence, with some suggesting he should abandon Haney's principles.

Haney, who has been with Woods for six years, said in a statement: "Just so there is no confusion, I would like to make it clear that this is my decision. Tiger Woods and I will always be friends, but I believe there is a time and place for everything, and I feel at this time and at this place in my life I want to move forward in other areas."

The 54-year-old added: "It has been a great learning experience and along the way Tiger has elevated me in my own profession to a level that I never thought I would achieve before I had the opportunity to work with him.

"He is an incredible athlete with an incredible work ethic. As we all know, Tiger has been through a lot in the last six months, and I really believe that given the chance, mind free and injury free, we will all see Tiger Woods play once again like we all know he can. I wish Tiger well, not only with his golf, but in finding peace and happiness in all aspects of his life."

Woods, meanwhile, insists there is "zero connection" between the neck spasms playing havoc with his swing and his car accident in November.

Woods said his neck started bothering him two weeks before the Masters, his first competition in five months. He brushed it off as "no big deal" and believed he could play through the pain. That changed on Sunday at the Players Championship, where his creaky neck locked up. That prevented him making his usual forceful turn on the ball on even a routine shot, and he was forced to withdraw after six holes.

"I'm at a point now where I just can't go anymore," he said. "I want to practice, I want to play, I want to compete, but this is not allowing me to do the things that I need to do on my golf swing to hit the proper shots. I need to get to where I can do that again."

Woods said he's been taking anti-inflammatory drugs, but they have not helped. He plans to have an MRI scan when he returns to Florida. In November, he was briefly in hospital after he crashed his Cadillac into a fire hydrant and a tree outside his home, resulting in a sore neck and a cut lip.

Woods insists he can deal with the sharp, shooting pain, which he feels in the right side of his neck, but cannot deal with the spasms that affect his ability to turn his head. "For me not to play all 18 holes, that was as angry and as frustrated as I've been in a long time," Woods said of Sunday's abbreviated round. It was his first withdrawal from a tournament since the Nissan Open at Riviera in 2006.

Woods said it wasn't until this weekend that he felt he needed more serious treatment.