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Woods withdraws from US Open Scott feels on top of the world

DUBLIN, Ohio, May 29, (Agencies): Tiger Woods withdrew from the US Open on Wednesday as he recovers from back surgery that has kept him out of golf for nearly three months. It will be the second US Open, and sixth major, he has missed because of injury over the last six years. The US Open is June 12-15 at Pinehurst No 2, where Woods tied for third in 1999 and was runner-up in 2005. The announcement on his website was not surprising. A week ago at a promotional event for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, Woods said he still had not taken a full swing with a golf club and did not know when he could. He had microdiscetomy surgery to relieve a pinched nerve on March 31. “Unfortunately, I won’t be there because I’m not yet physically able to play competitive golf,” Woods said. “I’d like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won’t be at Pinehurst. The US Open is very important to me, and I know it’s going to be a great week.” Woods last played on March 9 at Doral, where he closed with a 78 while suffering what he called back spasms. He withdrew in the middle of the final round at the Honda Classic with back pain a week earlier.

In more ways than one, Adam Scott feels on top of the world going into this week’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio where he has always loved the leafy Muirfield Village Golf Club layout. The Australian could hardly be playing better, having clinched the Crowne Plaza Invitational in a playoff on Sunday, and he will be making his second consecutive appearance on the PGA Tour since replacing Tiger Woods as world number one. “It’s great to be back here,” Scott told reporters on Wednesday. “It’s a course I like very much. I feel like it sets up well for me and I’m playing well. I’m going to try and keep the momentum going after last week.” Asked how satisfying it had been to win a tournament in his first week at the top of the golf rankings, Scott replied: “It’s satisfying, absolutely. “But I think all the things I did leading up certainly helped put me in the right mindset to play well last week. It took a couple days for it to show up really on the weekend, but that’s when it counts. “And I think getting to number one was such a journey and so much work went into it, I wasn’t going to settle for just staying there for a week.”

Phil Mickelson heads into this week’s Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio optimistic about his game and his prospects for next month’s US Open, despite having missed two cuts in his last three starts on the PGA Tour. The American left-hander has spent the past fortnight working hard in practice and believes that his touch around the greens, usually so brilliant, is back to its best after he struggled earlier this season.
“I really had a good couple of weeks back home,” British Open champion Mickelson told reporters at Muirfield Village Golf Club on Wednesday while preparing for Thursday’s opening round at the PGA Tour event hosted by Jack Nicklaus. “I had a chance to spend some time with (swing coach) Butch (Harmon). I had a chance to spend some time with (short game coach) Dave Pelz. I’m excited about these next three weeks. “We’ll see how it goes. My short game right now, which has not been great this year ... it feels good. So I’m curious to see how it goes this week.”

Mickelson, who sandwiched missed cuts at the Masters and the Players Championship around a tie for 11th at the Wells Fargo Championship in his last three starts, described the fine line that marked out a sharp short game. “It’s such a small difference between getting it inside three feet and getting inside six feet,” said the 43-year-old, popularly known as ‘Phil the Thrill’ for his bold and often cavalier approach to golf.
“Yet it’s a huge and important difference in scoring. The touch and just reading the lie and getting it in contact just right, all those little things, it’s the first thing to go when you’re not playing well. And when you’re not playing well, it’s the last thing to work on. Right now my short game feels really sharp. I have a much better feeling about these coming two weeks before the (US) Open than I’ve had in a long time.”

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