Elbow injury forces Tiger Woods to pull out of AT&T event

Graham DeLaet at this year's Canadian Open. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

Graham DeLaet at this year's Canadian Open. (Dave Thomas/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

TIM MCKAY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:57 PM ET

Anyone who watched the U.S. Open last week knew Tiger Woods was experiencing some discomfort, aside from those tricky Merion greens that certainly had him baffled.

Woods confirmed as much Wednesday, announcing on his website that he is pulling out of next week’s AT&T National at Congressional Country Club because he has been advised to rest his injured right elbow.

Woods reportedly tweaked the elbow during his Players Championship win last month and re-injured it at the U.S. Open in Merion’s rough.

“I was examined after I returned home from the U.S. Open, and the doctors determined I have a left elbow strain,” Woods said on his website. “I have been advised to take a few weeks off, rest and undergo treatment.”

Woods, who always keeps his focus squarely on the year’s four major championships, said he would be ready to play in next month’s British Open.

“I’ll be ready to go for the British Open, and I’m looking forward to playing at Muirfield.
Woods won at Congressional last season and regrets not being able to defend.

“It’s especially difficult not defending at my own tournament.”

CANUCKS TRENDING UPWARD

Now that an Aussie and an Englishman have won the year's first two majors, it's a wonder the Americans haven't yet gone back to wondering just what is wrong with their game.

Maybe it's the fact that Tiger Woods is back to No. 1 in the world after the top three were Europeans at various points in the past couple of years (even though only four of the current top 10 are from the U.S.), or that Americans have won more than their fair share of "regular" PGA Tour events this season.

Whatever the case, the issue of a struggling American game had been a big story in recent years, but it quietly has gone away.

But what about us? The Canadian game has been enjoying a bit of a resurgence as well.

No, a Canadian hasn't won on the PGA Tour since Stephen Ames' victory at the Children's Miracle Network Classic in November 2009, but when you consider where our men were even a year ago, progress is being made.

At the moment, Graham DeLaet of Weyburn, Sask., is the top Canuck in the men's game, sitting at 102nd in the official world golf ranking and 58th on the PGA Tour money list with $933,587. Brampton, Ont.'s David Hearn is ranked 169th in the world, and 89th in PGA Tour money with $603,130.

Going by official world gold rankings alone — and it's a system that certainly has its flaws — Canadians are trending in the right direction, with DeLaet soon to break into the top 100 and Hearn going that way as well.

When you consider where those players were a year ago in the points-based ranking system that is based on an accumulated two-year "rolling" period, and gives more weight to major championships — many of which Canadians have not been a part of in the past two years — you can see there is progress.

Last year at this time, Hearn was the top Canadian in the official ranking at 218th, and DeLaet, who was coming off back surgery in 2011, was 277th in the world.

Even Mike Weir of Bright's Grove, Ont. — who turned back the clock for fans with a great showing at the U.S. Open, finishing tied for 28th after posting one of just five under-par rounds (69) on Sunday — is making headway, rankings-wise. A year ago he wasn't even high enough to be on the chart, and now, he's at 661st and climbing.

The next step for our boys is a victory (many feel it's only a matter of time with DeLaet and Hearn), but at least there's progress.

ROSE IN FULL BLOOM

There aren't too many overnight sensations in golf, and Justin Rose is just another example of a guy for whom the game was a cumulative process (the same process DeLaet has been speaking about this season as he hunts for that elusive first win).

With Rose, it's a process that is book-ended by two majors and it has been fascinating to watch that progression.

The young Englishman first burst onto the scene like a comet as a 17-year-old at the British Open, when he captured the hearts and imagination of his home country by competing as an amateur at Royal Birkdale and finishing fourth to win the silver medal.

Rose — in a much-criticized decision — turned professional the next day and his career has been closely scrutinized since. He scuffled badly after turning pro, missing a well-documented 21 straight cuts.

It wasn't until 2010 that Rose won for the first time on the PGA Tour, but all of it led to Sunday at Merion and the U.S. Open title.

And it's not lost on Rose.

"I think 2010 was a turning point in my career. You know, I'd won golf tournaments around the world, but I think, not until I won on the PGA Tour did I really start to develop that depth of confidence," he said Wednesday at the Travelers Championship, adding that his subsequent wins under different circumstances and then winning a playoff event and a World Golf Championship event all built that confidence.

"That has been my progression and that's where I've developed more of the confidence and the ability to get to this point," Rose said.

"I think last September with the Ryder Cup, and then with the World Golf final in Turkey — where I played (Lee Westwood) and where I played Tiger and managed to come out on top of a very good field there ... Around that time, I started to think 'I can do this.'

"I stepped up when I needed to and hit the shots, that's kind of where my confidence has developed to enable me to get it done last week."

Rose said some kind words from his friend Adam Scott, and the example he set in winning the Masters in April, also had a positive effect.

"I don't know it word for word, but when we were texting back and forth in April, he basically said, 'This is our time. We're 32, we've paid our dues, we've got a lot of experience under our belts, it's now or never, in a way, it's our time to go and get it done.' He basically said, 'You're good enough, I'm good enough, it's our time.'"

Rose said he was impressed with the way Scott got past his agonizing defeat in the 2012 British Open and was able to close the deal on the Masters.

"It hit me, really, at the U.S. Open, that if you're not willing to experience the heartache and the heartbreak of losing a major, then you can't really, truly play your best stuff and be free enough in the moment to get it done," Rose said.

"If you're kind of a little bit apprehensive of what it might feel like to lose, that's just what struck me. I was good with you just have to put yourself in that moment time and time again and be willing just to keep knocking down the door, and that's what I learned from Adam.

tim.mckay@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/TimMcKayGolf

PGA Tour

Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands (6,854 yards, par 70), Cromwell, Conn.

* Players, including U.S. Open champ Justin Rose, will get a reprieve from the brutal Merion Golf Club here, where scores are low. Canadians in the field are Stephen Ames, Graham DeLaet, Brad Fritsch and Mike Weir.

LPGA Tour

NW Arkansas Championship

Pinnacle Country Club (6,389 yards, par 71), Rogers, Ark.

* Canadians in the field are Lorie Kane, Sara-Maude Juneau, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Stephanie Sherlock and Maude-Aimee LeBlanc.

European Tour

BMW International Open

Munich Eichenried Golf Club (7,157 yards, par 72), Munich.

* Martin Kaymer, the only German champion in history of the event, is in the field.


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