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Woods comeback delay may be mental: Donald

Press AssociationPress Association 11/10/2016 Phil Casey

Citing his own experience in returning from a career-threatening injury, Luke Donald believes "mental anguish" could be behind Tiger Woods' decision to pull out of his planned comeback at this week's Safeway Open PGA Tour event.

Former world No.1 Woods has undergone three back operations in the space of 19 months and has not played competitively since August last year.

The 40-year-old had planned to play in California this week and in the Turkish Airlines Open on the European Tour in November, but said on Monday he was not ready to compete.

''My health is good, and I feel strong, but my game is vulnerable and not where it needs to be,'' Woods said on his website.

Donald can sympathise with Woods after being sidelined with a career-threatening wrist injury in 2008.

"Obviously it sounds like clinically he feels fine," Donald said.

"He's just not quite ready to tee it up from a mental standpoint perhaps. That's certainly what I gathered from his comments.

"There's a lot of mental anguish when you take time away. I think obviously Tiger, the greatest player that's ever played, he's got very, very high standards and expectations.

"I think that you have to weigh that up with that feel of almost failure or fear or anxiety of not performing well. If Tiger Woods is healthy like he says he is, that's probably what he's weighing out right now, just feeling comfortable.

"It's really hard to get comfortable unless you actually put yourself through it. At some point he's got to jump in, and if he messes up, he's got a good opportunity to get better the next time he plays."

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