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Reaction to Tiger Woods's break from golf

Tiger Woods

Archive - Tiger wins his first Masters (UK users only)

Tiger Woods's decision to take an indefinite break from playing golf to tackle problems in his private life has been met with a mixed reaction from his sporting colleagues.

The 33-year-old American, who has won 14 majors, four short of Jack Nicklaus's record, has admitted for the first time that he has been unfaithful to his wife Elin.

His decision to stop playing puts a new slant on a coming season that many thought could be his best yet, with three of the four majors being played on courses that he has triumphed on before.

IAIN CARTER'S BLOG

He has won four Masters titles at the Augusta National including a record 12-shot victory in his first major as a professional in 1997.

The US Open is being held at Pebble Beach, where he won by record 15 strokes in 2000, while the Open returns to St Andrews, where he won two of his three Claret Jugs by eight and five shots in 2000 and 2005 respectively.

BBC SPORT'S GOLF CORRESPONDENT IAIN CARTER

"His indefinite break is a savage blow to the sport. The PGA Tour was quick to express support for Woods's decision to take time out, but will be concerned at the prospect of trying to renew sponsor contracts next year with so much uncertainty surrounding the future of their biggest calling card.

Hard to predict when Tiger will return

"This has been an astonishing fall from grace. From the height of his powers as one of the most dominant figures in all of sport to humiliation and contrition after a devastating fortnight of lurid claims and rumours about his private life.

"American commentators are calling this the first right move in a fortnight of public relations disasters. Perhaps it is the turning of a corner, but it is too early to say.

BBC COMMENTATOR AND FORMER RYDER CUP PLAYER PETER ALLISS

"He is undoubtedly the biggest figure in golf and has been for the last 10 or 12 years and he would be sorely missed but the game's been there for hundreds of years and it's gone on.

Tiger decision 'tremendous loss' - Alliss

"We've had our champions and great players, men and women over the years, who've stood the passage of time and they've come sailing through and there've been ups and downs.

"He will of course be missed, the sponsors would miss him because it's a proven fact when Tiger plays more people watch the television, there are more column inches written in the papers, and he's just a star performer but it's been coming for a year or two.

"He's been gradually deteriorating, his temperament. If you're an observer of life, and I think I am, the signs have been there and there's been trouble for some time, it's all blown up now and it's all a bit messy and horrid and I just feel sorry for him.

"For years to come, he will be a figure of fun to comedians great and small. Tiger Woods will have to put up with those jokes and japes for 20 years to come.

"It's a very messy situation and I would advise him to go and see the people that Michael Douglas, the actor, went to see because he had addictive sex problems.

"He's obviously got a problem. We were told for years that his father stood by the side of the green throwing pebbles in buckets of water, shouting and blowing whistles to make him oblivious to all these noises.

"Now we have to see how strong his mind is."

FORMER MASTERS AND OPEN CHAMPION SANDY LYLE

"All the golfers very much need Tiger Woods," Lyle told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme. "He has done an awful lot for golf and the sport needs Tiger to come back.

"We don't have another Tiger Woods in the background that we can rely on. He is one of those one in a million that come around. It's put golf on the map.

"This thing is a little bit of a shock to the system and we are all hoping that it will be resolved but it's going to take time. There's going to be changes and Tiger's attitude to playing golf might be very limited.

"It's wise for him to stop playing for the time being. There is not much going on for the next month or so, there is a rest period.

"As far as the Masters is concerned in April, it looks a bit grim, as does the Open but things can change rapidly.

"He might just walk away from the game. He is a wealthy man and does not really need to play golf but he has some fantastic goals. He wants to win more majors than Jack Nicklaus.

"There is a still a chance that he will break the record. He's only four majors off that so he could equal it. I am sure he will come back strong."

ENGLAND'S DAVID HOWELL, TWO-TIME RYDER CUP WINNER

"It comes as no surprise. With the scrutiny his life is under it would be nigh on impossible to turn up and concentrate on playing golf, which is what he does best.

"The only way he could go was to take a break, try and sort his life out and come back when he's ready. He does that well from injury and he'll be back when he's ready to do so.

"This is going to take a while to get over. He's still the best golfer in the world by quite some way and if he manages to get his head back on his shoulders he'll still be the formidable Tiger Woods we all know.

"If he takes a hit through his sponsors that will not damage him too much. He's a wealthy man and the least of his worries are monetary - they are probably the last thing on his mind."

BBC SPORT PUNDIT AND EX-EUROPEAN TOUR PLAYER JAY TOWNSEND

"To make a sacrifice like this, looking at how he has been throughout his career is a big shock. He was so one-dimensional in his quest to break golf records and to be known as the best golfer of all time.

"I'm not saying it is the wrong decision. I understand the reasoning behind this. You can't fault that at all.

"It's the only way to save his marriage. He has to rebuild the trust, because if you don't have trust you don't have anything in a marriage. It also shows his sponsors that he cares about family life and that goes a long way to repairing marketability with million dollar sponsors.

"But you have to wonder about the validity and truthfulness of anything he says right now.

"It comes down to his wife Elin. I think she's running the show right now and I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of people disappear from his inner circle. They had to know about what was going on. In her mind they have to be part of what happened.

"It's like being an alcoholic. You can't hang out in bars. It's the same sort of thing with this.

"He's going to need support in the locker room. That has come reluctantly because he's beaten them so badly over the years and they're not in any rush to help him because if he's gone that's one less guy they have to beat.

"And they don't have to beat the best guy in the world any more so they're all going to benefit in that respect from his absence, but nobody likes to see anyone suffer, especially when there's a family involved."

TIGER WOODS'S AGENT MARK STEINBERG
Tiger Woods 2005

Archive - Tiger magic in 2005

"The entirety of someone's life is more important than just a professional career.

"What matters most is a young family that is trying to cope with difficult life issues in a secluded and caring way.

"Whenever Tiger may return to the game should be on the family's terms alone."

US PGA TOUR COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM

"His priorities are where they need to be and we will continue to respect and honour his family's request for privacy.

"We look forward to Tiger's return to the PGA Tour when he determines the time is right for him."

TWO-TIME MAJOR WINNER JOHN DALY

"I feel like if there's anybody in this world, after what I've gone through (four divorces), the ups and downs, I might give him some advice.

Daly backs Woods after criticism

"My advice to him last week was that he should have come out a lot earlier, told the truth, got it all out on the table.

"That would have made the so-called other women, whether it is true or not, to kind of maybe sit back and not say anything.

"I'm in shock over it all. I think a lot of our players are in shock. I've tried to get hold of Tiger and his manager but he just didn't want to talk to anybody.

"You don't stay married for the kids, you don't stay married for the money. You stay married because you love each other.

"I hope they're staying together for the love they have for each other.

"I pray and hope they both get through it and if they ever need anything from me, I'll be happy to talk to them because I love them both.

"Tiger is lifetime exempt on our tour, he can play (anytime) he wants on our tour. Take a break, get it together. My heart is out to both of them, I just hope they can make it.

"I'm not happy with the way some of our players have responded - that's their way of getting back because they know they can't beat him at golf.

"They always say there is no one bigger in golf than the game itself. But Tiger is."

18-TIME MAJOR WINNER JACK NICKLAUS

"Our public is pretty forgiving at times. Time usually heals all wounds. I think the hardest thing is obviously his family. That's a private matter for him and his family."

EUROPEAN RYDER CUP CAPTAIN COLIN MONTGOMERIE

"It will impact on every tournament Tiger plays, I believe. Let's hope the tabloid press finishes quickly and we get on supporting good golf. He is suddenly, I hate to say, more normal now.

"There is a mystique which has been lost now and let's hope that golf isn't damaged by that, and it shouldn't be. There was an aura, and that wall if you like has been split slightly, so there are cracks and I feel that it gives us more opportunity of winning these big events now."

SWEDEN'S FORMER RYDER CUP PLAYER JESPER PARNEVIK

"I vouched for the guy (Parnevik introduced Elin Nordegren to Woods in 2001). "I told her this is the guy that I think is everything you want. I was wrong.

"I am sure she felt very lonely and very small in the whole hoopla and chaos when her world was turned upside down.

"I was just shocked and pretty much very disappointed in the whole thing and I just really, truly felt for her and the situation she all of a sudden ended up in."

SWEDEN'S FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE ANNIKA SORENSTAM

"It's tragic. I think this whole thing is tragic.

"I am in touch with his wife Elin Nordegren now and then. Me and my husband Mike have been out dining with Elin and Tiger on a few occasions. Perhaps it won't happen as often now."

NORTHERN IRELAND'S GRAEME McDOWELL

"At a time when the world is having a tough time economically, we don't need any more blows to our sport. With Tiger out, it's definitely going to have an impact.

"Every one of the players will be looking forward to him coming back. Tournaments are going to be easier without him in the field, obviously, but we certainly need him in the field.

"He gives events such a big boost. We hope he gets things sorted out and comes around quick. Golf needs him."

UNITED STATES'S STEVE STRICKER

"I think it's great that he's going to put his family first and work things out. Golf will always be there. He wants to make sure his marriage is right and everything is good on the home front.

"We'll sure miss him on tour until he gets things taken care of."

AUSTRALIA'S CRAIG PARRY

"What he did was totally wrong and he's got no one to blame except himself. You can look at other people, but he's the one who's got to look in the mirror."

Tiger Woods

Watch Woods' wayward round at 2009 Open (UK users only)



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see also
Tiger Woods takes break from golf
12 Dec 09 |  Americas
UK gagging order over Tiger Woods
12 Dec 09 |  Americas
Tiger Woods: Celebrity under pressure
19 Feb 10 |  Americas
Tiger Woods's career in photos
12 Dec 09 |  Golf
McIlroy backs Woods to win again
11 Dec 09 |  Golf
Players should back Woods - Daly
11 Dec 09 |  Golf
Woods admits letting family down
02 Dec 09 |  Americas
Woods pulls out of own tournament
30 Nov 09 |  Golf
Golfer Woods hurt in US car crash
28 Nov 09 |  Golf


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