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Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 16:53 UK

European stars back injured Woods

Tiger Woods
Goosen suggests Woods was sometimes able to ignore the pain

Some of Europe's top players have backed Tiger Woods after Retief Goosen questioned the severity of the injury he played with in winning the US Open.

The South African suggested Woods, who had a third operation on his left knee in April, could have been faking.

But Woods's announcement on Wednesday that he will miss the rest of the season to have surgery back up claims that players heard noises from his leg.

Woods said he will subsequently miss the Open at Birkdale and the Ryder Cup.

The world number one will also miss the USPGA to have reconstructive surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and to rehabilitate a double stress fracture of his left tibia which came about in preparation for the US Open.

Speaking to a German television station ahead of the BMW International Open in Munich, two-time US Open champion Goosen said Woods's injury seemed to come and go throughout the tournament.

"It just seemed when he hit bad shots his knee was in pain and on his good shots he wasn't," he said.


Asked if he felt Woods could have been faking it, Goosen said: "I think so. When he made the putts and he went down on his knees and shouting 'yeah', his knee wasn't sore.

Goosen later claimed he was just being "light-hearted," but added: "No-one but Tiger knows how badly hurt he was. But if he was really badly hurt, he would have withdrawn, wouldn't he?"

It was great drama and I don't care if he was injured or not. It made for fantastic television

Graeme McDowell

But Paul Casey said that Robert Karlsson's caddie heard Woods's knee creaking. "He was right there and clearly he was suffering," said Casey. "Noises from the knee doesn't sound good to me."

Niclas Fasth, the defending champion in Munich, said: "I didn't speak to Tiger, but he was obviously hurting."

And Graeme McDowell added: "Tiger is the first person to win a major on one leg - he's the greatest of all time. It was great drama and I don't care if he was injured or not. It made for fantastic television.

"Technically, physically, mentally he's better than everyone else and that's a scary thought. When he is on his game nobody is even close."

Woods's play-off win at Torrey Pines secured his 14th major and he is now just four behind Jack Nicklaus's record haul.

see also
US Open play-off photos
16 Jun 08 |  Golf

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