Tiger Woods explains how he lost a tooth whilst watching Lindsey Vonn and why 'the flight home was a joke'

Woods will play at the Waste Management Phoenix Open

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The Independent Online

So far so good in Phoenix.  No-one has been mugged or had a tooth knocked out, which is good news for Tiger Woods, who talked us through the perils of watching loved ones break skiing records, and Robert Allenby, the victim of a mystery assault a fortnight ago in Hawaii.

Woods, who makes his first appearance of the year at the Phoenix Open starting tomorrow, lost one tooth and damaged another in Italy last week in the post-race scrum following girlfriend Lindsey Vonn’s record run to 63 World Cup wins.

The skeleton mask he wore to conceal his identity offered no protection against the accidental offensive launched by a cameraman jostling for position. “I had my mask on, so no one knew who I was – trying to blend in, because there are not a lot of brown dudes at ski races, OK?” Woods said. “That was the whole idea of why I wore the mask.

“I was looking down, and all the camera guys are below me on their knees or moving all around, trying to get a picture because she’s hugging people, saying congratulations to the other racers as they are coming down.

“[The] dude with a video camera on his shoulder, right in front of me, kneeling, stood up and turned and caught me square on the mouth. He chipped that [tooth], cracked the other one. And so then, you know, I’m trying to keep this [mask] so the blood is not all over the place.

“The flight home was a joke,” Woods added. “I couldn’t eat, couldn’t drink until he fixed them, put the temporaries on. I couldn’t have anything touch it. Even breathing hurt, because any kind of air over the nerve, the tooth that was still alive was cracked.”

Allenby is still trying to understand exactly what  happened to him after his missed cut at the Sony Open. A quiet dinner with friends ended with a visit to a strip club, a bloodied and bruised face and a story that did not quite add up.

The Australian was  certainly robbed of his credit card, which was subsequently used to the tune of $10,000 (£6,580), but the police failed to find evidence to support the idea that he was kidnapped by a gang and dumped, as he originally claimed.

Allenby, who believes his drink was spiked, said he had no memory of a missing two and a half hours and relied on the testimony of a  homeless woman to piece together a story that subsequently failed to stand up to police scrutiny.

The biggest threat to Allenby in Phoenix is the gamut the players must run on the tee at the raucous 16th hole. No problem if he is paired with Woods, who on a golf course at least, is never far from a heavy duty security detail.

Having returned his teeth to full health, Woods is left to bring only his game up to scratch.  “I’ve done some good work. We have a game-plan with [swing coach] Chris [Como] where we need to get to. We are ahead of the plan. It’s great to be back. It’s been a long time.”

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